History’s Hero Artist — Celestial Interlude pg228–229
Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic
During the 17th century Peter Paul Rubens lived a magnificent life. He received huge art commissions all over Europe. He gained wealth, prestige and knighthoods from two countries.
But that’s just the smaller part of his large life. What made Rubens heroic was his work as a diplomat, which he considered to be his most important contribution. Because he spoke six languages and traveled to royal courts all over Europe to arrange commissions, he was able to carry messages, settle disputes and avert wars. Rubens was a humanist, a peacemaker and an artist on a monumental scale. That he was sitting here in a celestial chalet sipping chocolate, wiping marshmallow off his mustache, and willing to pitch in with a small art project was entirely due to a long association with his friend Gamdi. — From Chapter 12
Another theory I came up with from observing odd phenomena over time, was an idea that the energy of goodwill is indelibly infused in an artist’s work. It emanates off the surface of a painting even after hundreds of years. The baroque style of Peter Paul Rubens ceased to be fashionable long ago, but the happy energy of his work is still as appealing as Van Gogh’s. Well, to me anyway. I’m a More is More kind of appreciator. Give me swirly abundance over stark lines any day. Give me big, fat canvases of glorious Peter Paul paintings! Heck, let’s make him a character in my book.
I found this over-the-top cherub frame at a yard sale in California. It was bright gold and so wonderfully tacky I made a gleeful mouth noise. A fashionably dressed suburbanite woman saw what I was holding and took a big step away, like she was afraid my taste might get on her. While painting it to compliment the watercolor, I realized every putti in old master’s art is caucasian — all with the doughy white complexions of unbaked pies. I made the angel babies on this frame part of the world. This ‘after Rubens’ piece sold at an art fair in Menlo Park, but I found this exact same frame again, and painted another bouquet of much more diverse cherubs. Then I kept it for myself.
(I retired from large art festivals. The 2021 finale sale of this series is at Faux Louvre on Esty.)
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