Born in Sieggen in Germany, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a leading Flemish painter, draughtsman and diplomat in the 17th century. He studied under various masters, including Otto van Veen. Rubens travelled to Italy, where he experienced the impact of Classical art. There he also saw the work of modern Italian masters such as Caravaggio. Rubens spent time in Spain on a diplomatic mission. In 1609, he was appointed court painter to Archduke Albrecht of Austria (at Brussels). At the same time, he accepted many major commissions for churches and public buildings.
Working in the Flemish Baroque style, Rubens was famous for his proficiency in every genre: in depictions of biblical and mythological scenes and historical events, in portraits, landscapes, still lifes and depictions of animals. His versatility is also evident in his many drawings. Rubens maintained a large studio with numerous pupils. His home and workplace in Antwerp can still be seen today.