This is one of the works that make up one of the largest commissions received by the Flemish painter Peter Paulus Rubens. The cycle of more than twenty large canvases that were to decorate the west wing of the Luxembourg Palace in Paris and depict the life of the queen regent Marie de Medicis. Some paintings that can be seen today in the Louvre Museum in the French capital.
Rubens' Regency Happiness
It was a very substantial commission, but it also had its conditions, such as the fact that the queen regent had the right to change those works that she considered did not sufficiently praise her person and her government. For this reason, at the given moment, she decided to eliminate from the set a canvas thatRubenshad titled Maria de' Medicis leaving Paris. Something that did not satisfy him and made him replace it quickly. The result was this much more glorifying Regency oil painting of the commissioner. Although she had a little less truth, since the period of her government was much more unstable than what this image wants to convey to us.
The truth is that Rubens made the work with a lot of time pressure and without much preparation compared to other of his creations. And yet it is a masterpiece, and with a lot of unity. Something very noteworthy given the usual work of a team of collaborators in his commissions.
It is a very unitary work in itsinvoice and also in the general idea of the representation. Logically, the scene is presided over by the figure ofMaria de Medicissitting on her throne and holding a scale, an unquestionable symbol of justice and good government. She is also surrounded by Cupid and Minerva, love and wisdom.
Actually everything is full of allegories. There is the cornucopia of Abundance or allusions to the sciences, the arts, we alth.
In short, a commissioned work conceived to the greater glory of those who pay. A queen who even has no qualms about appearing with a bare chest, something inappropriate for her position and also for her age, since by then, in the year 1623, this woman was already of considerable age. However, Rubens not only knows how to perfectly capture what the person who pays him is looking for, he manages to make a work of art with it. A splendid work of the Baroque full of color and movement both in the composition and in the gestures of each and every one of the characters represented.