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Portrait of Rubens' Wife

17th century Unidentified Copy after Peter Paul Rubens Born: Siegen, Westphalia, Germany 1577 Died: Antwerp, Belgium 1640 oil on canvas 27 1/8 x 21 1/4 in. (69.0 x 54.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Mabel Johnson Langhorne 1956.11.28 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 5B


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Portrait of Rubens' Wife

Luce Center Label

The subject of this portrait, Helena Fourment, was the second wife of the great Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). They married in 1630, when he was fifty-three and she was sixteen. During his lifetime, Rubens’s works were much admired and copied by other artists, as in this portrait done by an unidentified artist. Paintings by Rubens, and copies of them, were also popular among nineteenth-century American collectors. Harper’s Weekly and other magazines fed public interest in Rubens, printing stories about his family and his beautiful wife Helena. In 1877, Harper’s described her as a “proud, stately lady in rich costume, her countenance expressive of languid complacency,” attributes nicely captured in this seventeenth-century portrait.

Keywords

Portrait female - Rubens, Wife Of

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas