"Self portrait with Lena Fourman and the offspring, Rubens
Description of the picture:
Self portrait with Lena Fourman and the offspring – Rubens. Around 1639. Oil on canvas. 203.8×158.1
Against the backdrop of the success of Flemish painting of the XVI century. Rubens’ art was like a true explosion of unbridled cheerfulness that infected the whole of Europe. In one thousand 600 30, at the age of fifty 3 years, the painter married a seventeen-year-old Lena Fourman and moved to live in the village. Since then, his colorful language has been enriched with new sensual lyricism, expressed more in portraits of his wife and children.
Here Rubens is depicted next to his young wife, whom he looks at with endless tenderness, and with a little Peter Powell. The picture seemed to “tell itself”, revealing with even greater obviousness the atmosphere of calm and love emanating from faces and slightly outlined gestures.
The family is depicted on the background of a charming garden (layout of the “garden of love”), saturated with symbolic details: the pink bush behind Lena’s back is associated with love emotions, the parrot is the sign of Mary’s motherhood, while the caryatid on the left and the fountain are direct allegories of fertility. Due to the brightness of color and the direct naturalness of the figures, this work is considered one of Rubens’ masterpieces.
Roses, written in soft and light strokes, without fail, are the emblem of love. Since the era of antiquity, the rose has been the sacred flower of Venus. There was a legend that her petals were snow-white, until at one fine moment the goddess in pursuit of her beloved Adonis injured her fingers on the thorns of the rose and painted her with her own blood."