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FINALLY! I know, right? Well yes, finally, it’s here: the picture study aid for Peter Paul Rubens.
In offering this one, I have to admit that despite my love of all things Flemish during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, I’m not a huge Rubens fan….except for his portraits. I feel as though he saved all of his technical skills and creativity for the portraits he created and the sketches, particularly of his family, that he made. I know I’m most definitely in the minority in this opinion, but there it is. 🙂
Evidence for my preference can be found in the piece I chose for the cover of this aid which is a painting he did of himself and his first wife, Isabella, when he was 32 years old. I think what draws me in general to his portraits is the clarity of the sitters, the eye contact (which isn’t uncommon in portraits) and the facial expressions he gave them. His models had direct gazes and were almost on the point of smirking (in my opinion) in a “knowing” way. I love how their personalities come out in his work. They each had lives and stories and I could probably stare at them for a long time wondering about those stories.
A few other favorites are Portrait of a Young Woman with a Rosary, Marchesa Brigida Spinola Doria (the detail on her hair and dress is amazing), Portrait of Gaspard Schoppins, Portrait of Maria Serra Pallavicino (again, this painting is more about her dress than her, but that’s a whole other art history discussion!), and Head of a Franciscan Monk. We were at The Hermitage in St. Petersburg a few years ago and they have an absolutely amazing Rubens (and school/workshop of) collection, including a lot of portraits.
Rubens was extremely prolific during his lifetime, producing at least 1400 pieces that we know of so I imagine narrowing it down to these six (which are from the Ambleside Online artist study rotation), was difficult. Fortunately for me, due to his popularity, he was not difficult to research at all, and in fact, two of the images really speak for themselves and required very little additional information. I did not, on the other hand, find any outside books or resources to recommend for Rubens. If you have a particular book about Rubens that you love, please pass along the information in the comments!
I also made one minor change in this aid and added all of the pieces in printable size at the end, so you don’t have to search for a file or pictures of your own. 🙂
You can download it here:
This is by no means an exhaustive analysis or study of each piece, and that is intentional. I tried to keep it all very simple in the spirit of there being, “no talk about schools of painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes in later life, the first and most important thing is to know the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman.” (vol 6 pg 216)
Also, please keep in mind that I’m not even close to being a Charlotte Mason expert! And though I do have a degree in art history, I’m definitely not an expert in that area either. 🙂
For enjoying art with children in general, I also included a page of art sources that I’ve found particularly good:
Online Art Collections
For younger children, I highly recommend the Mini-Master series by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober. Also, the Touch The Art series by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo.
For great artist-themed art activities for all ages, I recommend Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters by MaryAnn F. Kohl.
You may download it for personal use in your own homeschool (Ambleside Online, another Charlotte Mason curriculum, or otherwise). All of the prints are included in the Picture Study Aid file, so need to download a separate file for that. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please fill out this form! Your feedback is really, truly, very much appreciated!