From an estate outside Brussels, Flemish Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens, aging and arthritic, set to work painting the bucolic landscape surrounding his newly acquired seven-bedroom castle.
“A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning,” was on one of several famous works the late Renaissance master painted during the five years he lived at Elewijt Castle, which is now selling for €4 million (US$4.93 million). The estate, which includes a 700-year-old stone manor Rubens briefly owned and three other 18th-century residences, hit the market on Thursday, listing agency Engel & Volkers announced in a news release.
Medieval knights built the sandstone castle as a fortress to guard against attack in the early 1300s. The fortress was protected by a long moat and an imposing tower, which was depicted in Rubens’s “Het Steen” painting (but was removed from the grounds in the 1700s), images of the home show.
The building served a military function for the local duchy until it eventually passed into peaceful hands as Rubens’s private residence from 1635 until his death in 1640.
Rubens, an Old Master known for his romantic paintings filled with fleshy, rosy-cheeked nudes, worked in his later years as prolifically as ever. He finished paintings for his personal collection, including the fanciful, cherub-filled “The Feast of Venus,” and a violent depiction of the 30 Years’ War commissioned by the powerful Medici family entitled “Consequences of War.”
Hulton Fine Art Collection
The front of the castle, accessible by a stone bridge, still sits beyond a moat that surrounds the building on three sides.
The seller, who wasn’t identified, has owned the property since 1955 and carried out renovations and updates over the past 60-plus years, according to the brokerage.
Today, the castle is configured for modern use. There are three offices and two kitchens in the castle. The building also encompasses seven bedrooms and five receptions rooms with fireplaces, according to the brokerage.
In addition to Rubens’s castle, owners in the 1700s constructed three additional villas around a U-shaped courtyard.
One of the 18th-century buildings has its own chapel on the first floor. In total, the three houses add another 10 bedrooms to the property, a four-car garage and ample storage space.
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