RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)
The Apotheosis of Henry IV and the Proclamation of the Regency of Marie de Médicis on May 14, 16101623-25
Oil on canvas, 394 x 727 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
The central painting of the whole Medici cycle shows the Apotheosis of Henry IV, in which the assassinated French king is shown as a deified Roman emperor: he climbs triumphantly up to Olympus, to be welcomed by Jupiter and the other gods. Rubens's vivacious method of incorporating numerous allegorical motifs into this cycle should not make us forget that these are to a considerable extent derived from classical coins; he corresponded about these with the celebrated French antiquary Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc.