The exhibition is dedicated to Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 – Antwerp 1640), a renowned artist, with a pivotal role in the history of European art, but still not so much known in Italy, often simply considered as “Flemish,” despite his stay in Italy from 1600 to 1608 has left an indelible mark on his painting, which will remain vital all over his large artistic production.


Italy is crucial to Rubens, as well as Rubens for Italy: he can be held accountable for the first signs of the birth of the Baroque style, spreading in every region with dramatic results. All the critics recognize and glorify his influence, to the point that Bernard Berenson refers to him as “an Italian painter”. His relationship with Genoa, Mantua, Venice and his Roman story, allow us to trace the thread binding him so deeply to the Italian culture, which will remain his mark throughout his following production.

The exhibition, hosted at the first floor at Palazzo Reale in Milan, highlights the links of Rubens with the ancient art and classical sculpture, his attention to the great masters of the Renaissance such as Tintoretto, Correggio and, especially, raises awareness over his incredible influence upon younger Italian Baroque leading artists, as Pietro da Cortona, Bernini, Lanfranco, up to Luca Giordano.

In order to make this complex matter clear and consistent, an esteemed international scientific committee composed by Eloisa Dodero, David Jaffé, Johann Kraeftner, Cecilia Paolini, Alejandro Vergara and Anna Lo Bianco – exhibition curator – has selected a fully paradigmatic group of works of these subjects, with clear comparison among paintings by Rubens, ancient sculptures, works of some major players in the sixteenth century and baroque artists: a set of over 75 works put together thanks to relevant international loans.