Fisk has had my laptop for the last couple weeks, and while initially it was in inconvenience, I've really begun to love the extra time I have. Since I've had more time to read, here are some details about Rubens.
Rubens: The Betrothal of St. Catherine
In four or five solid paragraphs Gombrich explains the relevance of artists Caracci, Cravaggio, Reni, Poussin, and Lorrain. It would be a disservice for me to try to paraphrase such a small set of paragraphs coherently - but since Gombrich spends quite a few pages speaking of Rubens, here he is.
Rubens: Head of a Child
Rubens adored new art but believed that a painter's business was to paint the world around him; to paint what he liked, to make us feel that he enjoyed the manifold living beauty of things. He studied in Rome for 8 years before returning to Antwerp after acquiring ,"such facility in handling brush and colour, figures and drapery, an in arranging large-scale compositions that he has no rival north of the Alps."
Rubens: Self Portrait
"Having looked at the details, we must once more consider the whole, and admire the grand sweep with which Rubens has contrived to hold all the figures together, and to impart to it all an atmosphere of joyful and festive solemnity. Small wonder that a master who could plan such vast pictures with such sureness of hand and eye soon has more orders for paintings than he could cope with alone. But this did not worry him. Rubens was a man of great organizing ability and great personal charm; many gifted painters in Flanders were proud to work under his direction and thereby learn from him." As an unrivaled painter in his time, Rubens' brushwork could bring life and joy to nearly any subject, because of this he enjoyed a rare amount of fame and success that few had achieved before. Having a monopoly on the market, he took commission from separate political parties, many of whom enlisted him on various missions. He was described as never vain, but always a true artist, and produced much work within his life time.