Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II YEARS IN ITALY l6oO?1608 THE first Cis-Alpine city in which he paused was Venice, her transcendent beauty, in that day, still pulsating with full and vigorous life. To Antwerp, war- impoverished and desolate, Rubens could hardly have lighted upon a more brilliant contrast. The Venice of 1600 must have more than realized his wildest dreams of the beauty of life, and the grandeur of Art, and astounded him with amazed delight. We have scant, if any record of the emotions aroused during this first vision of an Italian city, but we may believe unhesitatingly that the dazzling impression was such that it never wholly faded from his eyes. His most original and strongly individual creations, to his latest day, have that about them which one cannot think they would have possessed had Venice not stamped her image indelibly upon his very being. Hardly had he been there more than a few weeks, than the fortune he had come to seek began to show herself, and in most attractive guise. Staying in the city for a few days in July was one of the most glittering notabilities of the peninsula, Vincenzo Gonzaga, sovereign Duke of Mantua. One of the gentlemen of his household happened to make the acquaintance of the young Flemish artist, who showed him some specimens of his work. Struck by their quality, the courtier brought them to the notice of his master; he in his turn being pleased alike by the pictures and the appearance and manner of the artist, took him forthwith into his service, and gave him a position among his followers, which Rubens was content to occupy for the next eight years. Our painter was destined to see much of courts and court life, hence his first experience as a page was, under the circumstances, hardly lost time; now he was to play a more important ro...