Rubens and His Legacy | Royal Academy 24 January – 10 February 2015

Excitement is building for this: Rubens and His Legacy. Peter Paul Rubens, opening at the Royal Academy in London this Saturday.  Also featuring La Peregrina, a curated response to the show by artist Jenny Saville who selected work such as the above example, Sleeping Figure1959, by Francis Bacon.


Peter Paul Rubens has been described as the “prince of painters”. A bold claim? Judge for yourself at this, the first major overview of his work and legacy.

Rubens and His Legacy will bring together masterpieces produced during his lifetime, as well as major works by great artists who were influenced by him in the generations that followed. We see the influence of Rubens in the prints of Picasso and Rembrandt, in the portraiture of Van Dyck, in the hunting scenes and devotional works of Delacroix, and in the landscapes of Constable and Gainsborough. It is a far reaching and remarkable legacy.

Rubens, best known for his fleshy nude women, also embraced a broad array of subjects, from religious and mythological scenes to landscapes and portraits. We will be looking at each of these areas through the lens of six themes; power, lust, compassion, elegance, poetry and violence.

Set to be one of the biggest spectacles of 2015, this is an unprecedented opportunity to see masterpieces by Rubens side by side with the work of his artistic heirs.

La Peregrina Contemporary works to join ‘Rubens and His Legacy’

As part of this landmark exhibition, celebrated artist and Royal Academician Jenny Saville will curate La Peregrina, a personal and contemporary response to Rubens and His Legacy.

For La Peregrina, Saville has chosen a selection of works by major 20th and 21st century artists. As well as paintings by Willem de Kooning, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Sarah Lucas, Lucian Freud and others, you can look forward to seeing extraordinary new work created by Saville especially for this occasion.

Jenny Saville is best known for her large-scale oil paintings of female figures. With her deep fascination in the palpability of flesh, extremities of anatomy and the grotesque, Saville’s artwork invokes the influence of Rubens. The range of works she has brought together reflect both her personal response and deep understanding of one of the great masters of art history.

“Whether you think you like Rubens or not, his influence runs through the pathways of painting. Like Warhol, he changed the game of art.” – Jenny Saville RA

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