The birth of Rubens

Three cities were long considered candidates for Rubens’s birthplace: Antwerp, Cologne, and (from the 19th century onwards) Siegen. Recently some authors also began to question the year of Rubens’s birth, which had always been given as 1577.

The evidence

De geboorte van Rubens (‘The birth of Rubens’) re-examines the source texts and arguments and reaches a clear conclusion: Rubens was born in Siegen on 28 June 1577. Once all the available sources are taken into consideration, the theories positing Antwerp or Cologne as his birthplace must be rejected. Equally, the recent challenge to the year 1577 as the year of his birth can be laid to rest.


Fresh perspectives

The research that was conducted for this book also opens up fresh perspectives. New documents are presented, earlier interpretations of well-known resources are corrected or refined, and fresh supplementary arguments are adduced. ‘The Birth of Rubens’ also sheds new light on the circumstances in which Rubens’s mother Maria Pijpelinckx returned to Antwerp with her children.


De geboorte van Rubens | The birth of Rubens
C. Van de Velde and P. Valkeneers
Gent/Kortrijk: Snoeck, 2013. ISBN 78-94-6161-098


The publication of this book was made possible by financial support of the Rubenianum Fund.