The Triumph of Henry IV

Artist: Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)

Date: ca. 1630

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 19 1/2 x 32 7/8 in. (49.5 x 83.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1942

Accession Number: 42.187


This energetic sketch shows Henry IV (1553–1610), King of France, entering Paris "in the manner of the triumphs of the Romans," as described in Rubens’s contract of 1622. Rubens was to paint forty-eight large canvases for the king’s widow, Marie de’ Medici, to decorate the Palais de Luxembourg. Those depicting her life (Louvre, Paris) were finished in 1624, but of the companion series only the enormous Triumph of Henry IV (Uffizi, Florence) was completed before the Marie’s banishment from France in 1631. The present oil sketch is the last of four in which Rubens worked out his heroic allegory of an actual event.