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Peter Paul Rubens
1577-1640. Flemish painter. He glorifies whatever he paints with a passionate, red-blooded, lusty life of adventure. The mock heroic trappings of classical mythology, the Baroque bravura of superabundance, brilliant color, intense light, swirling lines of movement: the Rubens style of grand turbulence exalts man, woman, flower, and tree into being bigger than life. Nothing ordinary is conceivable in a Rubens canvas. His women figures have the weight and power of Michelangelo bodies softened by warm, Titian tints, all reconceived and heightened by a buxom exuberance peculiar to the Flemish master. Motifs of imaginary reality, historical occurrence, and an Italian Renaissance sense of the timeless past swim together richly in Rubens's composition and cast the spell of an empyreal Nature. The spirit of the paintings, no matter it be Christ on the cross, is one of Titanic desire, unchristened naïveté, and pure human nobility.