The Man Who Loved Plus-Size Women

by Elysian Magazine

Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish artist and diplomat who defined the Dutch Golden Age, a period in European history in which Dutch trade, science, and art were at their zenith –  and a time that very closely corresponds with Rubens’ own lifetime.  Rubens is considered the most influential artist of the Blemish Baroque tradition. 

First of all, unlike another Dutchman—poor Vincent Van Gogh, who lived and died in squalor and who cut off his ear when that prostitute he fell in love with refused to return his affections — or his younger contemporary, Rembrandt van Rijn, Rubens was massively successful financially, while Rembrandt would surpass him in reputation as one of the great masters of all time and the “inventor” of chiaroscuro.

A classically educated scholar and diplomat who was knighted by Philip IV of Spain as well as King Charles I of England, Rubens was prolific, painting a gamut of subjects, from portraits, allegorical and historical subjects, and landscapes.  He painted altarpieces, wooden panels, designed tapestries, and illustrated books, but his large workshop in Antwerp produced numerous copies of his over 1,400 pieces of original art, most of them enormous and life-size.  Few artists were on par with royalty and considered in the top tier of aristocratic society.  Rubens was most certainly one.

Why then, do we love him?  Because Ruben loved plus-size women.  He thought women with a bit of extra padding were beautiful and he painted them gorgeously.  And you know what?  He would have adored so many of us.  

It is said that losing weight after you turn fifty is hard work, which is right, of course.  Fashion magazines didn’t help with featuring anorexic, size “0” models in their pages, and clothing manufacturers followed suit. Rarely was anything offered over size 12—and what few manufacturers did, made formless dresses that resemble a potato sack.  

On the bright side, if you were 140 lb. when you were 29 and the 179 lb. you may weigh now is all good.  It’s natural.  You’re right on track.  Mother Nature knows best.  So do many health experts.


Find your best weight:

According to, “Some people that might be referred to as “skinny” are actually very unhealthy, and some people that might be referred to as “plus-size” actually live incredibly healthy lifestyles.”  After all, if God wanted us to drink skim milk, he would have made cows produce skim milk.

Design by Peggy Lutz of

So, plus-size ladies, have I got good news for you.  According to a study in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, the average American woman wears a plus-size 20—and here’s the best part: over 67-percent of American women wear size 14 or higher.  We’re beautiful!  We’re happy!  We love chocolate!  Do you think Mae West would have always gotten her man if she had been a size 2?  Mona Lisa, who was definitely a size 18, was probably pondering whether there would be lasagna for dinner.  Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren would never make it to the top had they been unable to fill a DDD cup.  And Queen Victoria, who was as tall as she was wide, would not be nearly perceived as formidable a ruler as she was had she remained the slip of the girl she was before she bore nine children by Albert.  

So, go online and check out one of the most successful models in the world,  plus-size model Ashley Graham.  Then take a look at the fabulous fashion of  Peggy Lutz at  Peggy was one of the very first designers to focus exclusively on plus-size fashion.  Bottom line, if Rubens thought we were gorgeous, then that’s good enough for you, too.  

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