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

Portrait of Jan Gaspar Gevartius

c. 1628
Oil on panel, 119 x 98 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

This is a portrait of Rubens' friend Jan Gaspar Gevaerts (1593-1666). He was a reputable philologist, Neo-Latin poet and historiographer. Characteristically for his intellectual circles he had his name Latinized to Gevartius.

After a stay in Holland and Paris Gevartius became the Registrar of the city of Antwerp. In this function he was in charge of official ceremonies in the city and in 1635 helped Rubens with the "Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi", one of Rubens most impressive projects.

Rubens here intends to represent his friend's humanist attitude: he is sitting at his desk, with a bust of the Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius, on whom he wrote an unpublished commentary.

The painting is dated around 1628. The composition of the work is not baroque, but fits more easily into the 16th-century tradition of homely portraits of humanists.

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