My Early Weekend picture - Rubens House in Antwerp

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit the Rubens House
(in Dutch: Rubenshuis) in Antwerp.

own picture of the Rubens House

This was the former house and studio of the famous artist
Pieter Paul Rubens. Now it is a museum.
On this link you'll find more information about the museum. 

Pieter Paul Rubens was born on June 28th. 1577 in Siegen (now Germany).
His parents were Jan Rubens and Maria Pypelincks. 

Jan Rubens became a legal advisor of Anna of Saxony 
(wife of William of Orange) and later he was her lover. 
When this was discovered Jan was captured.

Later the family moved to Cologne and in 1589, two years after his
father's death Rubens mother took her family to Antwerp
There Pieter Paul Rubens learned his craft by Tobias Verhaecht.

In 1600 Rubens made his 'Grand Tour' and traveled to Italy. In 1603
Rubens had a diplomatic mission. He had to offer gifts from the court
of the Gonzaga family to the Royal Court of Philip III in Spain. He
returned to Italy in 1604.

Pieter Paul Rubens - Source picture: Wikipedia

In 1608 Rubens returned in Antwerp and there he was appointed as court
painter by Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Infanta Isabella of Spain,
they ruled then the Low Countries.

From them he received a special permission to stay in Antwerp instead of
Brussels (there was their Royal Court).

On October 3rd. 1609 Rubens married Isabella Brant, daughter of a leading
citizen in Antwerp. They would have 3 children.

In 1610, Rubens gave the order for the construction of an
Italian Styled villa. It became an Italian Renaissance Palace with a
portico and a courtyard.

Painting of the Rubens House - own picture

In 1621 Maria de' Medici, Queen Mother of France, ordered two large
painting to celebrate her and her husband's life. 

In 1626 his wife died. 

Between 1627 and 1630 Rubens made some diplomatic missions, he
traveled between the Spanish Court and the Royal Court in England.

In 1630 Rubens married Helena Fourment, daughter of a silk merchant.
They would have 5 children.

On May 30th. 1640 Rubens died at his house in Antwerp. He was 
buried in the St. James' Church in Antwerp.

Rubens House outside - own picture

After his death his Italian palace was sold. The city of Antwerp bought
it in 1937. After a strong renovation, the Rubens House is open for public.
It attrackts many tourist from around the world. 

garden of the Rubens House - own picture

I wanted to visit this museum very much. I liked the courtyard and the 
garden very much. Inside it was a bit dark but the fact that Rubens himself
lived here and this splendid history makes a lot good.

I wish you already a beautiful, sunny weekend. I'd like to thank you for 
visiting my blog, the likes and the nice comments on Google+ and on
Twitter as well. 

Have a wonderful time!

Today in History / OnThisDay - July 30th. 1683 - Maria Theresa of Spain, Queen Consort of France and Navarre

Maria Theresa of Spain was born on September 10th. 1638 at
the Royal Monastery of El Escorial, as a daughter of 
King Philip IV of Spain and his wife Elisabeth of France.

 Maria Therese of Spain, Source picture: Wikipedia

Maria Theresa was a member of the House of Habsburg and
she could use the titles Infanta of Spain and Archduchess of
Austria as well. 

In 1658 Anne of Austria, the mother of King Louis XIV of 
France (who was born in Spain) wanted to end the hospitalities
between her native country and her adopted one, France, so she 
desired a marriage between her son and Maria Theresa of Spain.

The negotiations for this marriage contract were very hard.
There was a fear that France would overrule Spain....

Finally on June 7th. 1660 Maria Theresa of Spain left her
native country and on June 9th the wedding took place.

On August 26th. 1660 the Royal Couple made their 
traditional Joyous Entry into Paris. It was said that Louis
was faithful to his wife for the first year. 

Maria Theresa liked to play cards and gambling, 
she had no interest in politics or literature. 

Maria Theresa tolerated her husband's infidelity with 
marquise de Montespan. 

As Queen Consort of France she wasn't involved in political 
life except for the years 1667, 1672 and 1678, 
when she acted as regent while
her husband was away on campaigns on the frontier.

In July 1683 Maria Theresa fell ill and she died a painful
death on July 30th. 1683 at Versailles. 

Louis XIV said about her death:
"This is the first trouble which she has given me."

Today in History / OnThisDay - June 27th. 1452 - Ludovico Sforza

Ludovico Sforza was born on July 27th. 1452 at Vigevano (now located
in Lombardy). He was a younger son of Francesco I Sforza, Duke of Milan,
and Bianca Maria Visconti.

Due to his mother he received a proper education and he learned inter
alia the classical languages, the instruction in the beauties of painting,
sculpture and letters. He also was taught the methods of government
and warfare.

painting of Ludovico Sforza : Source picture: Wikipedia

In 1466 his father Francesco died (the famous painting the last Supper
was painted next to his burial place). Ludovico's older brother,
Galeazzo Maria Sforza, became the new Duke of Milan. He ruled over
the Duchy till his assassination in 1476. Then he left the throne to his son,
who was at that moment 7 years old!

Ludovico and the boy's mother, Bona of Savoy, moved into a bitter
struggle for the regency and in 1481 Ludovico seized control of the
government of Milan, despite attempts to keep him out of power.

Love & Marriage

In 1491 Ludovico married Beatrice d'Este. She was a daughter from
Ercole I d'Este. In fact a double Sforza-Este wedding took place as
Beatrice's brother, Alfonso d'Este married Ludovico's niece Anna Sforza.
Leonardo da Vinci orchestrated the wedding celebration.

A shining court

Beatrice was at that time 15 years old and she quickly charmed the
court in Milan. She made from the Sforza castle a center of joy,
she organized festivals, balls and she loved to be entertained by
philosophers, poets, diplomats and soldiers. It was said that Beatrice
really had a good taste, and due to her, Ludovico became patron of
artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Donato Bramente. Beatrice and
Ludovico would have 2 children together: Maximilian and Francesco.
However Ludovico had several mistresses (although he kept only one
mistress at a time). By these mistresses several children were born.

Not only Beatrice did a lot for the court of Milan. Ludovico invested
in agriculture, horse and cattle breeding and in the metal industry.
Even a lot of workers were employed in the silk industry. Artist and
craftsmen transfered the court of Milan into one of the most splendid
of Europe. Ludovico also sponsored work in civil and military
engineering such as canals and fortifications. Besides that Ludovico
continued to pay for the work on the Cathedral of Milan. It was no
secret that the universities of Pavia and Milan flourished under him,
although people were grumbling that they had to pay heavy taxation...

Source picture: wikipedia


In 1494, Alfonso the king of Naples allied himself with Pope
Alexander VI and this was a threat to Milan. Ludovico decided
to accept help from France, then ruled by the powerful Charles VIII.
Ludovico permitted the French troops to pass through Milan, so
they might attack Naples. Naples reacted immediately. Their King
claimed the Duchy of Milan as their own. Ludovico asked help
to Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I. To rattify this ally, Ludovico
offered his niece, Bianca Sforza, to Maximilian I, as his bride.

Check also the page : House of Habsburg - Maximilian I - on top of my
blog or on this link

In 1494 his nephew died under suspicious conditions and the throne
of Milan fell to Ludovico. On January 3rd. 1497 Ludovico's wife

When Charles VIII died his cousin Louis became King of France
and he claimed the Duchy of Milan as his own, this led to the
Italian Wars...

Ludovico died on May 27th. 1508 at the Château de Loches,
as a prisoner of the French.

My Happy Weekend picture: A relaxing walk near the Yser in Nieuwpoort, Belgium

A walk near the Yser in Nieuwpoort, located in West Flanders, Belgium,
is very popular by tourists. That shouldn't be any surprise. It is indeed a
beautiful piece of nature.

 Nieuwpoort, neer the Yser - own picture

Some history

In 1163 Nieuwpoort obtained its city rights from Philip, Count of Flanders.

In 1600 the battle of Nieuwpoort took place between the Dutch and the Spanish 

Between 1757 and 1763 the city was occupied by the French, as one of the
conditions of the Treaty of Versailles between France and Austria. 

During the Battle of the Yser ,World War I,  in 1914, Hendrik Geeraert opened
the sluice gates, so the water could flow over the land and this halt the German

Nieuwpoort Yser own picture

This walk I made in the winter but I think it would be very lovely in the summer too.
Meanwhile I want to wish you a happy weekend. Thank you for reading my blog,
your likes and the reshares on Google+ and on Twitter as well!