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

Portrait of a Chambermaid

c. 1625
Oil on panel, 64 x 48 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Formerly it was assumed that the sitter was a chambermaid of Infanta Isabella, the Governess of Netherlands. However, it is believed - because of the similarity to a drawing of Isabella Brandt (Rubens' first wife) in the British Museum, London - to be a posthumous portrait of Rubens' daughter Clara Serena (1611-1623).

Rubens restrains his explosive temperament and paints not the flesh but the feeling, finding the finest nuances of his favourite colours: red in the girl's face, golden ochre in the hair, and lapis lazuli in the lace.