The Afterlives of Rubens in Early Modern Mexico

Aaron Hyman, 28 June 2015

To mark Rubens’s birthday, this lecture explored his afterlife or Nachleben. Prints of Rubens’s compositions circulated widely throughout the Catholic world, where large numbers of copies were made. From the Valley of Mexico and the Andes to the coasts of Goa: everywhere one encounters art that evokes Rubens’s prototypes and that expresses the spread of Catholicism in the early modern period. But did Rubens himself travel along with his compositions in the globalizing world?

This lecture traced the contours of two linked phenomena. On the one hand, Rubens became a tangible symbol for artists in the New World – a lens through which they construed their own artistic practice. On the other hand, Rubens would become detached from the figures he helped to create, which ended up leading lives of their own.