Artist: Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)
Date: ca. 1625–27
Medium: Oil on wood
Dimensions: 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
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1976
Accession Number: 1976.218
This intimate portrait probably represents a sister of Helena Fourment, Rubens’s second wife and the youngest of the Antwerp silk merchant Daniel Fourment’s seven daughters. Most scholars favor an identification with Susanna Fourment (1599–1628), who married Arnold Lunden in 1622. Another Rubens portrait is thought to depict Clara Fourment (born 1593) and reveals a family resemblance, but the faces of four Fourment sisters remain unknown. The present figure is richly dressed in a manner no widow—to dismiss another theory—would consider. The veil, similar to a Spanish mantilla, was shifted by Rubens in the course of work and its earlier contours have become visible over time.