RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)
The Gonzaga Family Worshipping the Holy Trinity1604-05
Oil on canvas, 430 x 700 cm
Palazzo Ducale, Mantua
When Rubens was working there the style of the influential painters of the Venetian cinquecento decisively set the trend in Mantua. This vast painting, with its colourful costumes and the relaxed portrayal of the children, cannot be imagined without the example of Titian's great votive pieces. The warm colouring and the sense of texture in the depiction of the sumptuous clothing of the princely family also look very Titianesque.
This family portrait has a powerfully dynastic character. By portraying both the parents and the children of the reigning dukes of Mantua, it emphatically underlines the continuity of the dynasty.
Rubens enormous canvas was badly damaged during the French siege of Mantua, so that parts of it were cut off, including the heads of several members of the family.