A & A art and architecture spacer courtauld institute of art spacer
quick search advanced search browse temp folder
Helena Fourment
enlarge image zoom image

Helena Fourment

Circa 1630-31

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Black, read and white chalk on laid paper

Width: 55 cm; Height: 61 cm;

Acquisition (source, method, date)
Seilern, Antoine (Count); bequest; 1978

About this work
Having been a widower for four years, Rubens married Helena Fourment, the sixteen-year-old daughter of an Antwerp silk merchant, in December 1630. In this stunning drawing Rubens celebrates the beauty of his young wife as well as his own art. The monumental portrait presents Helena near life size in a splendid costume, however, it also allows an intimate encounter. She is shown lifting or catching her veil, which would have been suspended from the top of her striking headdress. Rubens derived this apparently natural gesture from classical sculpture. The subtlety and variety of the red- and black-chalk marks, alongside graceful touches of white, create a body that seems to vibrate with delicate energy. (Permanent collection label)

Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

spacer spacer spacer spacer