RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)
Garden of Lovec. 1633
Oil on canvas, 198 x 283 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid
The splendid vision of sensual dalliance once hung in Philip IV's bedchamber. The subject is a traditional medieval one, in which lovers were shown conventionally in a garden, sometimes with moral messages or symbols accompanying them. In the Italian Renaissance the theme had been represented in 'fête champêtres' such as the one attributed to Giorgione or Titian in the Louvre. This picture by Rubens is an important link in the tradition running from those works to the scenes of Watteau and Pater in the eigtheenth century.
In the Garden of Love Rubens celebrated his marriage to Helena Fourment, his second wife. Helena, the woman deemed "the most beautiful in Antwerp', is seen in the painting.