Mythological paintings (until 1614)
by Pieter Pauwel RUBENS

Rubens returned to Antwerp in 1608 from Italy, and he brought with him an interest in the heritage of Antique art and literature that developed into a cornerstone of his thinking and artistic production. After setting up home in Antwerp, he devoted himself with unfailing interest to Greek and Roman mythology, which he used for the subject of many works, mostly as private commissions.

The lyricism, eloquence and sensuality that characterise his entire oeuvre are already apparent in Rubens's mythological compositions of 1600-1620. These are often vigorous, earthy works: Venus Frigida, The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus, Drunken Bacchus and Satyrs and The Three Graces. The taste for opulent forms and buxom nudes prevailing in these works, and the vitality and pantheism they radiate, took on a more intimate and even, elegiac note in the latter stages of Rubens's life.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Jacobus Gallus: Currit parrus lepulus, motet


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Leda and the Swan
1598-1602
Oil on wood, 65 x 81 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge

1300*1033
True Color
183 Kb



The Battle of the Amazons
c. 1600
Oil on canvas
Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam

1161*920
True Color
171 Kb



Democritus
1603
Oil on canvas, 179 x 66 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

400*1149
True Color
56 Kb



Hero and Leander
c. 1605
Oil on canvas, 128 x 217 cm
Gemaldegalerie, Dresden

1548*900
True Color
154 Kb



Hero and Leander (detail)
c. 1605
Oil on canvas
Gemaldegalerie, Dresden

1133*1100
True Color
147 Kb



Hero and Leander
c. 1605
Oil on canvas, 96 x 127 cm
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven

1228*900
True Color
135 Kb



The Jjudgment of Paris
1606
Oil on copper, 34 x 45 cm
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna

1235*900
True Color
194 Kb



Venus at her Toilet
c. 1608
Oil on canvas, 137 x 11 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

1000*1252
True Color
120 Kb



Prometheus Bound
1610-11
Oil on canvas, 243 x 210 cm
Museum of Art, Philadelphia

1030*1159
True Color
145 Kb



Juno and Argus
c. 1611
Oil on canvas, 249 x 296 cm
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne

1165*950
True Color
170 Kb



The Drunken Hercules
c. 1611
Oil on oak panel, 220 x 220 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

900*989
True Color
144 Kb



The Abduction of Ganymede
1611-12
Oil on canvas, 203 x 203 cm
Schwarzenberg Palace, Vienna

1121*1100
True Color
164 Kb



Venus, Cupid, Baccchus and Ceres
1612-13
Oil on canvas, 141 x 200 cm
Staatliche Museen, Kassel

1145*800
True Color
134 Kb



The Statue of Ceres
c. 1615
Oil on wood, 91 x 66 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

885*1255
True Color
145 Kb



Jupiter and Callisto
1613
Oil on canvas, 202 x 305 cm
Staatliche Museen, Kassel

1416*950
True Color
161 Kb



Cupid Making His Bow
1614
Oil on canvas, 142 x 108 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

948*1300
True Color
113 Kb



Venus Frigida
1614
Oil on wood, 142 x 184 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

1285*1000
True Color
120 Kb



Venus and Adonis
c. 1614
Oil on panel, 83 x 91 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

1251*1121
True Color
147 Kb




Summary of works by Rubens
Religious themes
until 1616 | 1617-20 | 1620s | 1630s
Altarpieces in Antwerp Cathedral | Biblical scenes
Mythological themes
until 1614 | 1614-29 | 1630s
Large royal projects | Allegorical themes
Portraits
until 1629 | 1630s
Miscellaneous
Landscapes | Hunting and other themes
Graphic works