Louvre-Lens Museum
2 May – 23 September 2013
99 Rue Paul Bert, 62300 Lens, France
+33 3 21 18 62 62

Born near Cologne, living in Antwerp after a long period in Italy, and active in the courts of Spain and England, Rubens (1577-1640) was an artist of European dimension. A renowned artist but also a diplomat, letter writer and entrepreneur, his work was very much determined by the European context in political, social, religious and economic terms.

The first international exhibition at the Louvre-Lens aims to shed light on Rubens’ time through over 170 works by the artist, by his models and by some of his contemporaries, from the Louvre’s collections and from leading European and American museums.
Reflecting the European artistic culture that mattered to Rubens, the exhibition includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and decorative arts. It aims to reproduce the dynamism of Rubens’ creative output and conveys the spectacular nature of his inspiration. It also offers a few intimate moments, revealing a more personal side to Rubens.

At the heart of the exhibition is a room devoted to screening a film about Rubens’s travels, co-produced by the Louvre-Lens and Le Fresnoy – National studio for contemporary arts (in Tourcoing). Made by Alain Fleischer, it gives a sense of the multiplicity of places that Rubens knew, by comparing old and contemporary views of European cities. And finally, a last room evokes the artist’s correspondence through a system of sound and visuals, to which visitors are invited to contribute by reading extracts from Rubens’s letters.