Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Helena Fourment, c.1630-31
A beautiful drawing of his beautiful wife.
Rubens married Helena Fourment on December 6, 1630, when he was fifty-three and she was sixteen (oooh-la-la). Helena was his model and the inspiration for many of his paintings. Especially those surrounding the themes of love or ideal beauty.
(I have to say it…what an extraordinary hat! …and moving on…)
I was fortunate enough to see this marvellous drawing at the opening of the Mantegna to Matisse exhibition at the Courtauld Institute last night. I highly recommend it. Some real surprises… lovely ones.
As the dapper gentleman standing next to me pointed out… this drawing shows that Rubens had moments of struggle too. When articulating the form of the hat he tried and re-tried to get it right. A very reassuring thought.