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

Rubens, his wife Helene Fourment, and their son Peter Paul

c. 1639
Oil on wood, 203.8 x 158.1 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Rubens married his second wife, the beautiful 16-year-old Helene Fourment, in 1630, when he was 53. This painting celebrates their marriage, and the luminosity of the colours and the ebullient presentation of the figures makes this one of Rubens's most magnificent achievements. He has related his marriage to the theme of the Garden of Love; the fountain, the trellis, and the caryatid are symbols of fertility. The warm, intimate expression of the painter and the gentle caress of his hand attest to his love for Helena.

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