Category Archives: Rubens

NATIONAL GALLERY TALK – PETER PAUL RUBENS IN PRIVATE

Rubens and his first wife and ?his daughter
Rubens and his first wife, Helena Foument and ?his daughter, Clara

Ben van Beneden, Director of the Rubens House Museum in Antwerp, gave a brilliant talk, subtitled The Master Portrays His Family, on Rubens’ portraits  of his family and close friends. Rubens thought that portraits were a low form of art – just copying – rather than grand, like his vast History paintings.

Delightful paintings and a drawing of his sons
Delightful paintings and a drawing of his sons

But he did leave behind a collection of gorgeous paintings of his first and second wives – including a rather indiscrete painting of his 16-year old second wife, Helena Foument in the nude – and his children as well as self-portraits. He incorporated some of the images of his wives into his historical paintings such as ‘The Garden of Love’ and of himself, gold chain and all, into one of his several versions of ‘The Adoration of the Magi‘.