Rubens, Arrival of Marie De’ Medici at Marseilles, 1622-25.Among Ruben’s royal patrons was Marie De’ Medici, a member of the famous Florentine house and widow of Henry IV, the first Bourbon king of France. She commissioned him to paint a series of huge canvases memorializing and glorifying her career. In this painting, Marie disembarks at that southern Frnech port after her sea voyage from Italy. She was welcomed by a man draped in a cloak decorated with the fleur-de-liswhich was the floral symbol of French royalty. The sea and sky rejoice at the queen’s safe arrival. Neptune and the Nereids (daughters of the sea god NErus) salute her, and the winged and trumpeting Fame swoops overhead.
The commander of the vessel is wearing the Medici coat of arms, the only immobile figure in the composition.Rubens painted 21 large canvases glorifying her career. In this historical-allegorical picture of robust figures in an opulent setting, the sea and sky rejoice at the queen’s arrival in France.Rubens, Consequences of War/Allegory of the Outbreak of War, 1638-39.Commissioned by Ferdinando II de’ Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany (1621-70). He took the opportunity to express his attitude toward the 30 years war. The fluid articulation of human forms in this work and the energy emanating from the chaotic scene are hallmarks of Ruben’s mature style. The principal figure is Mars, who has left the open temple of Janus (which in time of peace, according to Roman custom, remained closed) and rushes forth with shield and blood-stained sword., threatening thepeople with great disaster. He pays little heed to Venus, his mistress, who accompanied by Amors and Cupids, strives with caresses and embraces to hold him.On the other side, Mars is dragged forward by the Fury Alekto, with a torch in her hand. Near by are monsters personifying Pestilence and Famine, those inseparable partners of War.There is a mother with her child in her arms, indicating that fecundity, procreation and charity are thwarted by War, which corrupts and destroys everything.There is an architect thrown on his back, with his instruments in his hand, to show that which in time of peace is constructed for the use and ornamentation of the City, is hurled to the ground by the force of arms and falls to ruin. A book and paper under Mars imply that he treads underfoot all the arts and letters. The grief-stricken woman cloathed in black with torn veil, robbed of all her jewels and other ornaments, is the unfortunate Europe who, for so many years now, has suffered plunder, outrage and misery, which are so injurious to everyone that its unnecessary to go into detail. Europe’s attribute is the globe, borne by a small angel or genius, and surmounted by the cross to symbolize the Christian world. Anthony Van Dyck – Charles I Dismounted, 1635.Ruben’s most famous pupil. As a young man he was unwilling to be overshadowed by Ruben’s disputed stature, left his native Antwerp for Genoa and then London, where he became court portraitist to
Charles I. He developed a courtly manner of great elegance that influenced many artists throughout