Art: Rubens: 'Fed upon Roses'

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, one of the five grand masters of 17th century painting—the others, by general consent, being Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velasquez and Poussin—was born 400 years ago this summer, on June 28, 1577. This birthday has raised memorial exhibitions all over Europe. No anniversary of a comparably great figure could launch so many shows, because Rubens was so prolific. A thousand or so paintings, more than 2,000 drawings, sown from Leningrad to Washington: Rubens was the grand inseminator of the Baroque, a monster of controlled fecundity, erudition and discipline. The biggest Rubens show, the text to which all the others...

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