Peter Paul Rubens and the Birth of Baroque
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Peter Paul Rubens and the Birth of Baroque

From 27.10.2016 to 26.02.2017

Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 – Antwerp 1640) will be the main protagonist of the great exhibition being held this autumn at Palazzo Reale, Milan. While critically acclaimed and one of the greatest artists in European art history, Rubens is still little known in Italy and often dismissed as just one of the 'Flemish painters’, despite his long and meaningful stay in Italy from 1600 to 1608, which significantly marked and influenced his rich artistic production.

The exhibition, located in the beautiful premises (Primo Piano Nobile) of Palazzo Reale, has been granted the patronage of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. It has been promoted and produced by the Municipality of Milan, Palazzo Reale, and Civita Mostre. It will be open to the public from the 26th October 2016 through the 26th February 2017.

After last Christmas' unique opportunity at Palazzo Marino to admire the ’’Adoration of the Shepherds" as a preview of Rubens' art, this exhibition offers a more comprehensive view of his work, artistic approach, and development, focusing on his classical influences, his relationship with Italian art and with some contemporary artists he met during his stay in Italy. This important artistic event will not only allow us to closely admire a great artist of all times, but it will also be an important cultural operation, highlighting Italy's central role in the evolution of history of art.

Italy is key to Rubens as much as Rubens is key to Italy.

Rubens is to be credited with contributing to the birth of Baroque art as well as its highest expressions that had spread to all other regions. His influence was so great and widely recognized by art critics, that Bernard Berenson defined him as “an Italian painter”. By following his connections with cities like Genoa, Mantua, and Venice, as well as his Roman period, it is possible to recreate Rubens’ deep bond with the Italian culture throughout his subsequent artistic production.

This is indeed the leit motiv of the exhibition entitled “Peter Paul Rubens and the Birth of Baroque”. It highlights Rubens’ connections with ancient art and classical sculpture, as well as his close attention to the great Renaissance painters like Tintoretto and Correggio. In particular, the exhibition aims to emphasize the tremendous influence exerted by this great Master on other younger, prominent Baroque Italian artists, such as Pietro da Cortona, Bernini, Lanfranco, and Luca Giordano.

In order to clearly present this complex topic, Anna Lo Bianco – the exhibition’s curator – has selected a set of works that perfectly illustrate these themes, also by comparing Rubens’ paintings with those by some other celebrated Italian Cinquecento Masters and Baroque artists: over 70 works, 40 of which by the great Flemish Master, lent out for this exhibition by some of the most important international collections, such as the National Museum of Prado, Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage, the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin and the one of the Prince of Liechtenstein, as well as by several Italian collections, such as the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Rome, Musei Capitolini, Galleria Borghese, Galleria degli Uffizi and Galleria Palatina in Florence, Museo di Palazzo Ducale in Mantua, Galleria di Palazzo Spinola in Genoa, and the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.


This exhibition was preceded from December 2015 through January 2016 by the event organised by the Municipality of Milan at Palazzo Marino, visited by over 120,000 people, who had the possibility to admire the Adoration of the Shepherds, lent by Museo Civico of Fermo. Planned to be exhibited again starting from next 26th October, this is Rubens’ last painting before he left Italy for good and an excellent example of his strong relationship with Italian art.

The ticket also includes an audio guide for an information-rich exhibition tour. Interesting and diversified educational programmes developed by both the Educational Division of Palazzo Reale and Civita Mostre’s art historians are also available for visitor groups and schools.

Finally, with a so called “open” ticket, visitors may have access to the exhibition whenever they want. The open ticket is also an excellent idea for a great cultural gift.

Marsilio Editori has published a valuable exhibition catalogue, which is expected to become an important reference point to learn about this absolute Master of Western art.

The exhibition is also supported by VISITFLANDERS – Flanders Tourist Association, and has a media partnership with Corriere della Sera. Technical sponsors: ATM, Kartell, Ferrovie dello Stato - Trenitalia, la Rinascente, TRI-R by Toshiba Materials.


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      • Price of ticket

        Open ticket € 14
        Full price € 12
        Group reductions, visitors under 26 and over 65, teachers, disabled visitors and conventions holders € 10
        Card Lombardia holders € 8
        Schoolchildren, FAI and Touring Club groups € 6
        Family ticket € 10 adults + € 6 children (6-14 years)
        Free entry under 6 years old

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