The Garden of Love- Art Column-

Outstanding painters can also become excellent diplomats

 The life of the Baroque painter Rubens was very interesting. Despite his humble beginnings, he achieved success as a painter, entrepreneur, and diploma.He was truly favored by the goddess of destiny. Rubens learned painting from a young age, and when he studied in Italy, he impressed Vincenzo I Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua, who appointed him as a diplomat in 1603 to deliver gifts to King Philip III of Spain.

 Later, he was welcomed as a court painter by Princess Isabella of Spain, beginning his life as a painter and diplomat. Especially from 1627 to 1630, Rubens traveled back and forth between the royal palaces of Spain and the Netherlands, and Spain and England, creating portraits and works on the theme of peace, and was even awarded a title of nobility.

Portrait of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Portrait of Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Dor

Successful Entrepreneur - Rubens' Magnificent Mansion Studio

  In 1610, Rubens designed an Italian-style mansion, gathered disciples and assistants, and established his own studio.

  The studio was a great success, becoming the most luxurious private art collection venue of the time, and receiving orders from collectors and nobles from various countries. Its international reputation grew, and commissions from churches were not uncommon.

Belgium, Rubens House in Antwerp

Rubens' Loving Late Life

 Rubens spent his life as a successful figure, and in his later years, he focused on personal artistic endeavors. Particularly significant was his marriage to his second wife, Hélène Fourment. At the age of 53, he married 16-year-old Hélène, and it is said that the woodcut "The Garden of Love," arranged in our design , was created to celebrate their union.

 This woodcut is based on an oil painting sketch, showcasing Rubens' meticulous touch. The overall artwork exudes pastoral charm, depicting upper-class gentlemen and ladies enjoying themselves.

 Let's focus our attention on the bottom left corner of the painting, where the lovely couple is being pushed forward by a charming little angel.The man wears an affectionate expression, supporting the woman's back as they walk towards the center of the garden. The woman's gaze is modest, lightly cast downwards. This charming couple represents Rubens and his wife, Hélène Fourment.

 Rubens incorporated mythological elements such as Cupid, the god of love, the god of marriage with a flower crown and torch, and the three Graces of love, desire, and purity. It seems as if the couple is blessed by the gods themselves.

 This artwork is known to have been displayed in the bedroom of King Philip IV of Spain for a long time, indicating Rubens' strong ties to the royal family.

 The meticulous brushwork of the master, the soft and quiet blue, and the design that maximizes the beauty of the original painting, "L'esquisse de Rubens." You, who chose this, must also be a lover of art ,and we are all moved by your delicate sensibility.

Left part of the woodcut, fromMetropolitan Museum

Righ part of the woodcut, fromMetropolitan Museum

「The Garden of Love」Oil painting "The Garden of Love," from Prado Museum i, Spain.