Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 15771640)
Oil on wood; 19 1/2 x 32 7/8 in. (49.5 x 83.5 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1942 (42.187)
Between 1627 and 1631, Rubens was engaged on a series of large paintings celebrating the life of Henry IV of France. Commissioned by the Queen Mother for the Palais de Luxembourg, they were intended to complement the famous cycle devoted to Marie de' Medici, now in the Louvre. Execution of the cycle was interrupted for political reasons, and six of the full-scale canvases were still in Rubens's studio at his death. The full-scale version of the present painting is in the Uffizzi, Florence, and an earlier grisaille sketch is in the Wallace Collection, London. The present composition has also been described as the Triumphal Entry of Henry IV into Paris. The sketch has been transferred from the original panel to a modern one, and has suffered from abrasion in some areas.