The death of Henry IV and the proclamation of the Regency (from the Marie de Medici cycle)

Peter Paul Rubens • Painting, 1625, 394×727 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Allegorical scene, Historical scene
Style of art: Baroque
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1625
Size: 394×727 cm
Artwork in selections: 45 selections

Description of the artwork «The death of Henry IV and the proclamation of the Regency (from the Marie de Medici cycle)»

Maria De ' Medici there was so much that Rubens was sympathetic when he took on a huge order: 24 canvases devoted to the life of the French Queen mother, freshly for the Luxembourg Palace. Maria was delighted from preliminary sketches, gathered them in a voluminous book and appreciated no less than the finished canvases. Work on the cycle lasted four years, Peter Paul traveled from Antwerp to Paris, claimed the sketches, returning home, doing a few scenes, was taking them to Paris and immediately had a few of the following ideas. He had to endure three hellish circle of censorship: present drawings to the Queen in the company of the adviser for art, her son, Louis XIII, and finally, cardinal Richelieu.

This tight control was necessary not only because the monarchs were worried about diplomacy Rubens: heavy chin, colorless eyes, and a catastrophic lack of feminine charm in the Queen cared about the censors only in the last turn. Marie de Medici, scheming with the savory character, has just returned from exile, where she sent her own son, Louis, and could not boast of a truly heroic and glorious episodes of his biography, without admixture of conspiracies, murder and meanness.

Peter Paul had to bring all the gods of Olympus to provide some doubtful stories of monumental and historical value. And if Flanders he returned after execution of the French order of national hero, received a knighthood, rent and other honors, from the descendants of him once again severely battered. For example, a naked mercury with an olive branch, which is in the picture "Angouleme world" shamelessly lands directly between two cardinals.

The story with the death of Henry IV and Regency of Mary so densely populated with gods and allegorical beings, that is suspicious. It's not the most perfect episode in the history of France. Marriage of Maria de Medici and Henry was extremely diplomatic move, and the king did not even think to abandon numerous mistresses after his marriage. So his death was not the Queen very upset. She gladly accepted the Regency on the same day.

Much more strong impression supposed to produce, without a doubt, the viewer has a huge canvas, 20 sqm, full of despair and hope at the same time. In the left part of the picture is a terrible and solemn – the deceased, but gained their immortality among the gods, Henry IV ascends to heaven, accompanied by Saturn and Jupiter. Of the deceased king, whom the French called "good king Henry", is mourned by two goddesses. Lick the goddess of war Bellona in Golden robes admired Paul cézanne so much that he requested 10 times at the Louvre permission to copy it. Many Rubenesque coloristic and graphical findings became the inspiration and a tutorial for artists in the nineteenth century.

The right part of the picture – plural, passionate, allegorical scene of the making of the Regency, in which critics find composite quotation from "Madonna Of The Rosary" Caravaggio. By the way, the only candidate among French artists, which Marie de Medici was considered in the process of finding the artist for this cycle were Simon Vouet. But just the enormous impact of naturalism Caravaggio the Frenchman frightened her too close and unbiased look might be for the Queen unflattering. Rubens surrounded Mary with allegorical figures, which, without violating the historical truth, increase the importance of events momentous: personalized France presents Mary ball, a symbol of power, directly under the arches of the arc de Triomphe, the goddess of wisdom at the throne of Mary is already starting to give her important advice, and the goddess of fate gives a rudder, as the symbol assigned to the Regent.

Such a sweet Rubens would be sick, but the artist is not so simple. Only in the XIX century, gold dust, enveloping ascended to heaven Rubens, crumbled and dissipated. And calepodius, at first glance, the works of Fleming began to notice a revolutionary, even a hooligan audacity. Take, for always stocking rumpled and unkempt Shoe Henry on all canvases of the cycle, moreover, where the king is wearing sandals. Or the dog that appears in two pictures "The Birth Of Louis"and "An arranged marriage". This dog Rubens personally brought Mary a gift from the Archduchess Isabella – a kind of wink in the direction of his Flemish Queen.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova