Portrait of Susanna Lunden by Rubens

Portrait of Susanna Lunden by Rubens
Portrait of Susanna Lunden by Rubens
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Historians do not dare to confirm it with absolute certainty, but it is practically unanimous that the woman portrayed in this painting by Rubens is Susana Lunden. She who would pose for the Flemish master between 1622 and 1625, unaware that a few years later, her little sister,Helena Fourment, would become his second wife of the painter.

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Portrait of Susanna Lunden by Rubens

However, when this work was made Peter Paulus Rubens was still married to Isabel Brandt, and certainly had in-laws with the Fourments. That is, in that atmosphere of relationships he made this portrait that has an informal air.

We see the woman wearing a ring, so it would surely be a portrait made for her engagement and even her wedding. A portrait that would be done in a studio, but that Rubens moves to an exterior, and even so he was able to paint natural light. Something that, of course, is only within the reach of the greatest masters and that has been admired by later artists. For example, the French painter Vigée Le Brun, who more than 150 years later took a self-portrait and paid tribute to this work by Rubens.

The truth is that in addition to his ability to paint light, Rubens greatly stood out in his time for knowing how to paint women, and endowing them with beauty and attractivenessundeniable. And we are not only talking about her way of capturing the ideal of beauty and female anatomical forms. Above all, she was able to create true beauties with subtle details. Like for example, painting the eyes a little bigger and darkening the tone of the iris. Here we see it for example, and also the effect of light makes those eyes shine, rather dazzle.

Despite that, he doesn't look at us. The turn of the eyes and her flirtatious smile make us face a most feminine face, which plays with the spontaneous and reserved. A face that on the other hand has the typical pearly tone of Rubens. A tone that here extends to the bust, where the pronounced neckline that exposes a large part of the breasts is striking.

In short, all the carnations of women, so light, stand out in a way since they are surrounded by garments of dark tones, or by the hat that covers Susana Lunden's head. A hat that we see adorned and made of fabric, but that despite this has served so that on some occasion, in the catalog of the National Gallery in London where this oil on panel is preserved, the play was called “The Straw Hat”.

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