Rubens and His Legacy

I missed the opening of the exhibition Rubens and His Legacy in Brussels last night, but took the opportunity of a quick day trip to see the exhibition which opens at the RA on January 24th. next year.   The idea of the exhibition is to explore Rubens not just as an an artist, but his influence on other artists:  Rubenism more than Rubens.   The organisation is thematic, beginning with Violence:  scenes of rape and rapine, including a big picture of Bulls Fighting by James Ward RA, a picture of Chevy Chase by Landseer, two Lion Hunts by Delacroix, right up to Lovis Corinth painting Hell.   The references in the gallery texts are to filmmakers, as if Rubens was ‘the Quentin Tarantino of his day’, as interested in subject matter and propaganda as were Sergei Eisenstein and Leni Riefenstahl.   Having done an exhibition at the National Gallery on Rubens in 2005, I’m glad that this is Rubens Plus, a way of connecting Rubens to modern audiences thematically.

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