The Triumph of Henry IV

Peter Paul Rubens Flemish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 639

This energetic sketch shows Henry IV, king of France, entering Paris “in the manner of the triumphs of the Romans,” as described in Rubens’s contract of 1622. Rubens was commissioned to paint forty-eight large canvases for the king’s widow, Maria de’ Medici, to decorate the Palais de Luxembourg. Those depicting her life (now at the Musée du Louvre, Paris) were finished in 1624, but little of the companion series devoted to her husband was completed before Maria’s banishment from France in 1631. The present oil sketch is the last of four in which Rubens worked out his heroic allegory of events from recent history.

The Triumph of Henry IV, Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp), Oil on wood

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