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The Four Continents, also known as The Four Rivers of Paradise, depicts the female personifications of, what, at the time, were believed to be four continents sitting with the personifications of their respective major rivers – the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Río de la Plata.
Europe is shown on the left, Africa in the middle, Asia on the right and America behind it, to the left. The tigress, protecting the cubs from the crocodile, is used as a symbol of Asia.The personification of the Danube holds a rudder. The bottom part of the painting shows several putti. Painted during a period of truce between the Dutch Republic and Spain, the river allegories and their female companions in a lush, bountiful setting reflect the conditions that Rubens hoped would return to Antwerp after military hostilities.

The Four Continents (The Four Rivers of Paradise)

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The Four Continents, also known as The Four Rivers of Paradise, depicts the female personifications of, what, at the time, were believed to be four continents sitting with the personifications of their respective major rivers – the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Río de la Plata.Europe is shown on the left, Africa in the middle, Asia on the right and America behind it, to the left. The tigress, protecting the cubs from the crocodile, is used as a symbol of Asia.The personification of the Danube holds a rudder. The bottom part of the painting shows several putti. Painted during a period of truce between the Dutch Republic and Spain, the river allegories and their female companions in a lush, bountiful setting reflect the conditions that Rubens hoped would return to Antwerp after military hostilities.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish Baroque painter. A proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasized movement, colour, and sensuality, Rubens is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.

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