The Meeting of Marie de Medicis and Henri IV at Lyon Peter Paul Rubens Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This elaborate artwork continued Rubens' work for the Marie de' Medici cycle, a large series of commissioned paintings that are now on display in the Louvre in Paris.

This iteration is the seventh, one after The Landing at Marseilles 3rd November 1600. This breathtaking set of paintings marks one of the highlights of this artist's entire career and is truly deserving of the prominence that it is afforded in the world-famous Parisien gallery.

The first meeting of Marie and Henry is highly significant for the simple fact that they have already agreed to marriage. Typical of Rubens, this scene merges reality with mythology, essentially promoting the two figures to Roman gods - Juno and Jupiter. This would feed into the egos of the ruling powers, attempting to amend history through depicting them in this way. Whilst they remain seen by us as mere mortals, the artworks produced of them are breathtaking and one of the highlights in the Louvre, even considering the exceptional collection that it possesses.

The Greek icon of Juno is characterised by her accompanying peacocks and a chariot. Whilst Jupiter represents Henry with the display of menacing thunderbolts right from his hand plus also the inclusion of an eagle. They hold hands to symbolise their marriage and they look longingly into each other's eyes, suggesting a successful and welcome bond between these two important figures. The celebration is underlined by a rainbow that rises in the top of the painting, a feature that Rubens used on several occassions and in this case almost serves as a type of fireworks display, reaching to the stars in a spirit of festival celebration.

The Meeting of Marie de Medicis and Henri IV at Lyon in Detail Peter Paul Rubens