RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)

The Consequences of War

Oil on canvas, 206 x 342 cm
Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence

Rubens painted the Consequences of War (or Horrors of War) for Ferdinand de' Medici, grand duke of Tuscany. This picture in a certain sense is the negative counterpart of the allegory on peace painted for Charles I, king of England. The message of this painting is exceptionally pessimistic: even love cannot restrain the blind martial brutality of the Thirty Years War from plunging Europe into mourning and destroying her prosperity. Yet this did not prevent Rubens portraying this tragic subject in the most Titianesque spirit, as a perfect demonstration of chromatic harmony.