Teniers' compositions teem with episodes drawn from domestic life. His sturdy, somewhat staid and coarse painting was more concerned with figures and images drawn from the life of the common people. In , the Spanish king, Philip II, was obliged to make concessions after a long and bloody war. In the work of this master there was to be found all that was truly advanced and important in European culture of the time. His intellect, rare talent, erudition and tireless artistic imagination thrilled Rubens' contemporaries. The main preoccupation for this artist was everyday life in the countryside and those who peopled it.
The Flemings' exuberant attitude to life was something close to Rubens' heart and he shared their passionate longing for peace and prosperity. The population lived in uncertain conditions, constantly tormented by the threat of war. In the early part of the new century a school of humanists and specialists in antiquity came into being. The main preoccupation for this artist was everyday life in the countryside and those who peopled it. Jan Brueghel — younger son of Pieter Brueghel the Elder — was continuing to work: In van Dyck departed for England and in Snyders died. The southern provinces of the Netherlands, still under Spanish rule, were headed by Flanders and Brabant in the main the territory of modern Belgium. This dream of happiness and plenty also left its mark on the work of Rubens' long-term assistant, a leading master of the Flemish still life, Frans Snyders The 17th century was their heyday. This painter, who was well versed in the Ancient World an archaeologist and architectural historian , undertook complex diplomatic missions striving to achieve peace for his homeland which had known so much suffering. Pictures with religious content were still being painted in Catholic Flanders, first and foremost in order to decorate churches. At the turn of the 16th century the traditions of the preceding era were still very much alive. In , the Spanish king, Philip II, was obliged to make concessions after a long and bloody war. Pictures of peasant life were also the focus of the painter David Teniers the Younger , who enjoyed success in his life-time. The Spanish governor himself attended lectures given by one of them — an outstanding Flemish scholar, historian and philologist — Justus Lipsius at the University of Leuven, who had published the works of the Roman philosopher, Seneca. His intellect, rare talent, erudition and tireless artistic imagination thrilled Rubens' contemporaries. Teniers' compositions teem with episodes drawn from domestic life. Yet many compositions on subjects drawn from the Old and New Testament began to be perceived as historical and they were also used to embellish secular buildings. Flemish painting came into its own after the return to his homeland of Peter Paul Rubens in , after he had spent eight years in Italy. In the work of this master there was to be found all that was truly advanced and important in European culture of the time. Only Jakob Jordaens was still creating pictures in the second half of the century towards the end of his long life. His works were gladly purchased by collectors in the centuries that followed. Rubens had a deep love for his native Flanders and was keenly aware of its people's spirit. The northern provinces of the Netherlands achieved complete independence, while the southern provinces — although they were granted formal sovereignty — were still under the dominion of the Spanish king's governor and the Catholic Church. Another painter closely linked with Rubens was Anthony van Dyck , one of the leading portrait painters of the 17th century. At the beginning of the 17th century the artistic school uniting artists of the Netherlands ceased to exist and two separate schools of art took shape — the Dutch school and the Flemish school.
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