Here is a video clip that gives a short introduction to the Life and Works of Peter Paul Rubens.
Peter Paul Rubens brings together in one person singular artistic gifts, major humanistic knowledge, mastery of Latin and several modern languages and a knack for diplomacy, becoming an example for a handful of artists.
Rubens's family was originally from Antwerp. The serious political and religious living in the Netherlands in the 1560s lead the family into exile in 1568, moving first to Cologne and then to Siegen, where Peter Paul was born on 28 June 1577.
Soon Rubens began his career as a painter, with his master Tobias Verhaeght, a painter of landscapes. A year later moved to the studio of Adam van Noort, a ‘skilful painter of figures’ but that was for a very short time, and then he went to the studio of Otto van Veen. Much of his earliest training involved copying earlier artists' works, such as woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger and Marcantonio Raimondi's engravings after Raphael. Rubens completed his education in 1598, at which time he entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master.
Due to his mother's illness in 1608, Rubens planned his departure from Italy for Antwerp, but she died before he returned. His return coincided with a period of renewed prosperity in the city with the signing of Treaty of Antwerp in April 1609, initiating the Twelve Years' Truce. In September 1609, Rubens was appointed court painter by Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, the governors of the Low Countries. He remained close to the Archduchess Isabella until her death in 1633. Rubens cemented his ties to the city when, on October 3, 1609, he married Isabella Brant, the daughter of a leading Antwerp citizen and humanist, Jan Brant.