The art piece that I selected for my analysis is called The Triumph of Divine Love by Peter Paul Rubens. The artwork is an oil painting on canvas, circa 1625. This piece of art was commission by Isabella Clara Eugenia, Infanta of Spain and Portugal. The Triumph of Divine Love was one of eleven art pieces in a series portraying the Eucharist cycle, an important issue in the Catholic-Protestant strife. Its purpose was to aid in the Catholic Reformation and the artwork was to be displayed at the Convento de las Descalzas Reales in Madrid. (Ringling Museum n.d.) The scene it portrays shows a woman holding an infant while she stands on a chariot drawn by two lions. Surrounding her in the air and around her feet are sixteen angels or cherubs. In the background there is a horizon with foggy mountains and a lake. On the left and right of the picture there are two columns reminiscent of the Classical era and at the top of the painting there is curtains and berry garland, almost like the scene was staged in a theater.
According to the museum placard about the painting, the work portrays a figure similar to the Virgin Mary and child. The Virgin Mary (identified by her red and blue garb and infant) is portrayed in a similar likeness to a mother figure called Charity. There is a Roman story of a daughter named Pero who breastfed her father while he was in jail to keep him alive and who was later released as a result of her unselfish act. (Maximus n.d.) Rubens also painted this scene in Simon and Pero, and so I believe that is why Rubens portrayed the Virgin Mary as Charity. (Rubens, Roman Charity 1612) The cherub-like figures surrounding her and the infant are putti (child-angels). The painting also has some symbolism. One of the cherubs has a bow and a heart on fire, similar to a cupid. Another has a torch to ignite love. At the bottom right corner of the painting, one of the putti has a bow and he is aiming it at some snakes on the ground. The snakes are...
Bibliography: Maximus, Valerius. The Story That Inspired Roman Charity. http://stargatelibraries.com/CimonPeroStory001.html (accessed 04 13, 2012).
Ringling Museum. "Peter Paul Rubens and the Baroque." Virtual Library of The Ringling Museum. http://ringlingdocents.org/pages/Galleries1&2.pdf (accessed 04 13, 2012).
Rubens, Peter Paul. Roman Charity . The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
Rubens, Peter Paul. The Triumph of Divine Love. Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota.
Wall Text. The Triumph of Divine Love. The Ringling Museum, Sarasota.
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