Peter Paul Rubens
(1577 - 1640) was born in Westphalia to Protestant parents who saw that his education was a full and rounded one - with training in Latin and classical mythology. He served his apprenticeship as a painter and enetered the Guild in 1598. Two years later he went to Venice worked for the Duke of Mantua. Returning to Antwerp in 1608 he became court painter to the Regents of the Netherlands and established a European reputation as a history painter, particularly on a large scale.
Rubens' work with the Book - designs for titlepages and other illustrations is comparatively neglected but has been the subject of a lecture by the great Rubens scholar Julius Held in 1977 (see Rubens and his Circle, Princeton Univ. Press in 1982). Rubens was widely read, had a substantial library, and quoted freely from classical and other texts. He planned two books never to be realised - a detailed study of the Human Figure and a reference work on ancient cameos.
The Palaces of Genoa he published himself in 1622 in Antwerp from drawings he had commissioned in Italy from other hands. He contributed an introduction commending the study of the classical facades and plans as worthy of the abode of the burghers.
Peter Paul Rubens Palazzi di Genova page size 34 x 44 cms
For a short time I had the opportunity to scrutunise and scan one of the volumes in this remarkable architectural publication. The material is offered solely as an exercise in a particular way of drawing rather than a prelude to an act of Rubens scholarship.
This display is to give you opportunity to look closely at the skill, craft and method of an early seventeenth century book giving a lot of visual detail.

01 Dedication

02 lettering for half title

03 characteristic floor plan

04 embossed motif on leather board  

05 characteristic facade I

06 characteristic facade II

07 embossed motif front cover