Rubens’ Beautiful Wife

When Rubens was 53 he married a girl 16–Hélène Fourment. He couldn’t take his eyes off her–so beautiful and charming was she. Nor his brush. She started appearing everywhere in his paintings. She was the Venus in The Feast of Venus (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), and The Judgment of Paris (Prado, Madrid); and she was at least two of the Graces in The Three Graces (Prado, Madrid).

rubens judgment
Judgment of Paris
in the National Gallery, London

This is a portrait of her wrapped in fur during what might be a break in a modelling session for the very picture above. Here Rubens has turned her into a Venus Pudica.

PPRubens’ wife


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3 Responses to Rubens’ Beautiful Wife

  1. wrjones says:

    She looks American er.. Rubensque.

  2. cantueso says:

    And what do you think is wrong with people who cannot see this as beautiful? I know how silly it is to say “But she is fat!” and so I do not say it. Nor do I think it! mind you. I simply try to look the other way. It does not look inviting to me, this painting!

    It it feels like I am looking in while she is trying to get dressed but is not very good at it, somehow gets tangled up in her lingerie.

  3. 100swallows says:

    She’s not really so fat, is she, Cantueso? And nobody has caught her in the bathroom tangled in her lingerie–she is posing in a coquettish way that I’d say is Rubens’ idea, not her own. “Inviting”? Do you mean sexy? She is at least friendly. I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t have forced everyone to agree that she was “beautiful”.

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