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Self portrait with Elena Fourman and son - Rubens. 203.8x158.1
Against the backdrop of the success of Flemish painting of the XVI century. In 1630, at the age of fifty-three, the artist married a seventeen-year-old Elena Fourman and moved to live in the village. Since then, his picturesque language has been enriched with new sensual lyricism, most fully expressed in the portraits of his wife and children.
Here Rubens is depicted next to a young wife, whom he looks at with infinite tenderness, and with little Peter Powell. The picture seems to be "telling itself", revealing with even greater obviousness the atmosphere of calm and love emanating from faces and hardly outlined gestures.
The family is depicted against a lovely garden (prototype of the "garden of love"), saturated with symbolic details: a rose bush behind Elena’s back is associated with love feelings, a parrot is a symbol of Mary’s motherhood, while a caryatid on the left and a fountain are direct allegories of fertility. Due to the brightness of color and the laid-back naturalness of the figures, this work is considered one of Rubens' masterpieces.
Roseswritten in soft and light strokes are undoubtedly a symbol of love. Since ancient times, the rose has been the sacred flower of Venus. There was a legend that her petals were white, until one day the goddess in pursuit of her lover Adonis injured her fingers on the thorns of a rose and painted it with her blood.