Faculty Book: Paul Oppenheimer
Rubens: A Portrait
(Cooper Square Press, 2002; 432 pp.)
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was the most popular painter of his day, and his posthumous reputation has ranged from the "Prince of Painters" to an artist whose style, subjects, and methods of painting have been subject to withering criticism. Rubens, a contemporary of Shakespeare, Rembrandt, and Galileo, possessed many ideas about beauty—that it is a process and not a quality, a history of actions rather than an ideal to be aspired to—that have proved ahead of their time. His monumental canvases with their sensual gardens, scenes from Biblical and classical lore, and "Rubenesque" women are the epitome of the Baroque School of painting, which later influenced Delecroix, Renoir, and many others. Paul Oppenheimer is professor of comparative literature at The Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: MAY 21, 2002