Painter, draughtsman, engraver, diplomat, decorator, decorative artist and art collector
Peter Paul Rubens was born in Siegen in 1577 before his family returned to Antwerp in 1589. He trained under Tobias Verhaecht, Adam van der Noort and Otto van Veen. He sojourned in Rome from 1600 to 1608 and was active in Mantua as court painter to Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga. In 1608 he returned to Antwerp, where he received major commissions, among them altarpieces for the cathedral. In 1609 Rubens was named court painter by Archduke Albert and the Infanta Isabella; in the same year he married Isabella Brant. In the following decade he organised an important workshop, and from 1620 on he created the Medici cycle in Paris. Beginning in 1622 he travelled extensively between Spain and England as an authorised diplomat, with numerous commissions from the court and the nobility. In 1630 he married for the second time, to Hélène Fourment. During his last decade the artist continued to work extensively for European courts and the Church. He died in Antwerp in 1640.