Jan Rubens became the legal advisor (and lover) of Anna of Saxony, the second wife of William I of Orange, and served at her court in Siegen in 1570. Needless to say, the affair was discovered and Rubens’ father was imprisoned for a time.
photo above by Abraham de Bruyn (worldroots.com) courtesy of Wikimedia
In Antwerp, Rubens received a humanist education, studying Latin and classical literature and at fourteen began his artistic apprenticeship. When he completed his education in 1598, he entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master. Two years later, he headed off to Italy where he could study the art of the Italian Masters, particularly Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. He also carefully studied works by Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto and Caravaggio while he was very successful painting important personal and religious portraits of wealthy prominent people.
photo by The Yorck Project, Direct Media Publ. courtesy of Wikimedia
top left to right Descent From The Cross (Hermitage Museum) & The Fall of Phaeton (Nat Gallery of Art Washington D.C.) bottom left to right Family of Jan Brueghel the Elder (Courtauld Institute of Art) & The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus (Alte Pinakothek Munich)
In 1610, Rubens bought a house which he remodeled into a magnificent, Italian-style mansion. The artist lived with his wife and children, and worked in the house for almost 30 years.
As with many historic homes, the Rubens house went through many changes and experienced quite a bit of destruction during its long existence. The house has been carefully restored to what historians and restoration experts believe is a close approximation to how it would have appeared when Rubens lived and worked in the home. The present layout is based on a floor plan drawn from memory by an eighteenth-century visitor.