RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)

Triumphal Entry of Henry IV into Paris

1627-30
Oil on canvas, 380 x 692 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

This canvas belongs to the unfinished cycle dedicated to Henry IV and shows the king, converted and victorious, entering Paris on 22 March 1594 at the end of a long period of internal struggles. Renouncing any reference to time or place, Rubens illustrates the episode in a complex allegorical context, creating an analogy with the triumph of a Roman emperor. In particular, the group of the crowned king and the architecture of the triumphal arch (derived from the Roman prototype of the arch of Titus), surmounted by soldiers and horses, arise from en evident reinterpretation of Mantegna's painting of Caesar's Chariot.