OIL PAINTING: Mars and Rhea Silvia, c.1620
Rubens' influence was crucial to 18th century French painting - Watteau and Boucher's ebullient, graceful Rococo nudes develop from Rubens' engaging female forms. The Romantic painter Delacroix admired the energy and vitality of Rubens' fluency with paint, writing "Rubens dominates, Rubens overwhelms you with so much liberty and audacity." Renoir
was surely looking backwards to Rubens' female forms for his monumental "Bathers". Perhaps a postscript to the story of Rubens' epic nudes might involve the contemporary artist Lucian Freud's candid investigation of massive female form.