Rubens Helena and Son

Topics: Color, Painting, Family, RGB color model, Son / Pages: 3 (741 words) / Published: Jul 22nd, 2013
Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and One of Their Children (circa 1635)
Rubens’ painting “Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and One of Their Children” is a very large, measuring 80¼ x 62¼ in., oil painting on a wood. It’s a family portrait of Rubens himself with his wife and their son. When Rubens married his second wife Helena Fourment, on December 6, 1630, she was only sixteen years old. He was already fifty-three at that time. Helena became the model and the inspiration for many paintings by Rubens dating from the 1630s, and particularly those dealing with themes of ideal beauty or love.
The painting itself is very realistic and three-dimensional. Despite clearly visible outlines and contours of all figures and objects, they are rather shaded than solid. The brushstrokes are visible, even loose, but aren’t heavy. Rubens carefully placed them to accentuate and emphasize details. Soft, dull, and earthy colors are primary on the painting with predominance of olive-green, black and beige tones, which brings harmony and balance to the composition.
The whole painting overall is quite busy and artist put lots of details in each component. Human’s figures are large and take almost the whole space of the painting. They are arranged in a classic “golden triangle”, which gives a sense of visual utility. The most centered is a figure of Helena, who’s dressed in a large, puffy dark dress with deep, revealing décolleté. Comparing to others, she takes more space on the painting. The main accent is on her face, neck, and chest. In contrast to the whole outfit, her light-toned skin, peachy cheeks and dark eyes are glowing. Each line, each shadow, made by the artist, captures ease and grace of her moves.
Despite being portrayed in mostly darker colors, Helena, and, especially, the upper part of her body, is the focal point of the painting. Rubens and their son are gazing at her, which also signifies that she’s the center of attention. Helena is not portrayed head-on,

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