Early Rubens Comes to The Legion

Now on exhibit at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor through September 8, 2019 is “Early Rubens.”

 In 1608, after a period of intense artistic study in Italy, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) returned to his hometown of Antwerp. He found a city eager to renew its visual culture and ready to support him, a bold artist who worked at a rapid pace and dramatic scale that could satisfy the demand for religious images while also supplying private collectors with works of ancient history and mythology. 

Early Rubens is the first exhibition dedicated to the pivotal years between 1609 and 1621 when the Northern Baroque master established his career. In approximately 30 paintings and 20 works on paper, the exhibition traces Rubens’s early development as a master painter with a unique gift for depicting seductive and shocking narratives. Rubens was not only a sought-after artist, but also a diplomat, shrewd business man, and a friend to scholars and monarchs. 

Early Rubens explore the artist’s meteoric rise to the first rank of European painters through a series of social and artistic choices that laid the groundwork for his international fame.and legacy for our audiences.”

Approximately 50 works from private and public collections in Europe and North America have been brought together for the exhibition. Many are exhibited in North America or on the U.S. West Coast for the first time. The exhibition is arranged thematically, thereby revealing Rubens’s mastery of a broad range of visual styles and subject matter, both historical and mythological.

Photo Caption: Head of Medusa.

Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco