Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 15771640)
Oil on wood; 30 1/4 x 23 5/8 in. (76.8 x 60 cm), including added strip of 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm) at bottom
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1976 (1976.218)
A lack of formality in the sitter's pose and her direct gaze suggest that Rubens knew the subject of this portrait well. The resemblance to the regular, softly rounded features of his second wife Helena Fourment has led to the supposition that this is a portrait of a member of Helena's family. Helena was the youngest of seven daughters of an Antwerp merchant, and Rubens is known to have painted a portrait of her sister Clara as well as at least seven likenesses of her sister Susanna. The portrait has been variously dated within the time span of the 1620s and 1630s. The picture, which is in excellent condition, was recorded in Antwerp in the late eighteenth century.