What Peter Paul Rubens was doing on canvas,J.S. Bach was realizing musically in the Baroque period. They were both devoted to ”contrapuntal” art forms where simultaneous ideas are cohabiting in equilibrium and somewhat equally. Or, at least equally present. Contrapuntal is a collection of ideas equally acknowledged and responded to.
In Ruben’s painting this would refer to composition and narrative lines very different from each other yet resulting in a ”harmonious” visual. There is a preservation of the central theme and a symmetry of form in a balancing act within the extremes of technical possibility. Much like Bach composing with ”unequal voices” which due to multiple counterpoint would sound harmonically rich yet clearly directed tonally.
In general terms, Rubens (1577-1640) integrated the realistic tradition of Flemish painting with the imaginative freedom and classical themes of the Italian renaissance. A lusty exhuberance, frenetic energy and turbulent drama provided a movement, color and sensuality to what would be defined as European art. It was realism meets idealism. A classical mastering of the imagination. The genius of Rubens was his imaginative and inventive response to the prevailing conservative theology to which he subscribed to. His adherence to Roman Catholic dogma and its most reactionary, fear inducing and stifling elements served to at least solder his boots to the soil to prevent an imaginative journey to another world. Religion seemed to temper his profoundly romantic qualities by rooting his efforts within the rigorous classic tradition.;hl=en&start=27&um=1&tbnid=iS9tbD00STSRQM:&tbnh=97&tbnw=127&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dpeter%2Bpaul%2Brubens%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D18%26um%3D1">