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The Galerie Médicis homes one the the largest cycles the decorative paints from a Parisian palace. This large room was particularly designed to welcome a series of significant canvases by Rubens on the life that Marie de’ Medici. Every the splendour the the queen proudly displayed in stately rooms in the Luxembourg palace once she went back from exile is recreated here.

A royal commission

The Galerie Médicis homes the complete series of paintings on the life the Marie de’ Medici by Peter Paul Rubens, among the best painters of his time. The episodes of the queen’s life space presented both allegorically and also historically, and also are hung in chronological order. Marie de’ Medici to be the widow of King Henri IV and also mother the King louis XIII, with whom she had actually a shaky relationship. Once the queen commissioned these paintings in 1622, she was simply returning from number of years that exile, compelled upon she by none other than her very own son.

Hailing from Florence, Italy, Marie had the Luxembourg palace developed in Paris (which today houses the Senate), making use of the Palazzo Pitti together a model. The queen was trying come recreate the sumptuous Florentine palaces of she childhood. She chose to decorate two huge rooms of her brand-new palace with paintings that depicted her life and also that that her imperial husband. Because that that, she turned to the an excellent master Peter Paul Rubens.

Henri IV reçoit le portrait de Marie de Médicis et se Peter Paul Rubens, Henri IV Receiving the Portrait that Marie de' Medici (detail)laisse désarmer par l’Amour (détail) Room 801 (Galerie Médicis), Richelieu wing, Level 2

An imaginative feat

In 1622, Rubens was among the best-loved painters in Europe. The trained in Flanders, Italy and Spain between 1600 and 1608 before settling in Antwerp. The Flemish artist made a fortune and also was at the head that a substantial workshop. Rubens i agreeed to repaint the complete collection on the life of Marie de’ Medicis in four years flat, singlehandedly. He kept up his end of the bargain, and in 1625, simply in time for the wedding festivities the Marie’s daughter, Henriette, and King Charles i of England, the paintings were finished!

Rubens once said, ‘I admit that ns am more naturally inclined come make massive works than small oddities’. The Galerie Médicis serves as proof that the artist’s extraordinary stamina: no much less than 21 canvases every measuring 4 metres in height, or 300m2 the paintings, and three huge portraits the the queen and also her parents! rather the feat. But the queen didn’t pay her bills top top time and also Rubens had actually a the majority of trouble collecting his due. In the end, he had to work out for 10% much less than the agreed (and considerable) amount of 60,000 pounds. Together for the collection of paints of the king’s life, the project never ever happened.

The unstable life that Marie de’ Medici

Rubens had actually to use great skill and also caution to depict the queen’s life, which to be riddled v diplomatic faux pas.When Henri IV died, Marie took over the reins that the kingdom until her son, louis XIII, was old enough to administer on his own. When little Louis lastly came that age, putting an end to the Regency, Marie had actually a difficult time letting go of power. In 1617, luigi XIII placed his foot down, forcing his mother right into exile. Marie ended up relocating to Blois.

Mother and also son would certainly not patch points up until 1621. Beyond the creative value of this paintings, the commission was an chance for Marie come tell she side of the story. Many thanks to the artistry the Rubens, the queen mommy staged an idealised image of her life and also political decisions. However the artist likewise had come be mindful not to offend the king of France. Not simple task…

A Baroque whirlwind

… however he taken on it like a pro. Brushed up up in the Baroque heart that to be blowing, the series mixes historic scenes and also allegorical figures, realistic portraits and an imaginative mythological numbers with an excellent artistic freedom. Rubens turned come the Greco-Roman pantheon and also Christian references to glorify the queen. In The education and learning of Marie de’ Medici, because that example, Minerva, the goddess that the Arts and Science, and Mercury, the messenger the the gods, aid groom Marie for she future together a sovereign.

The layout is Baroque in ~ its best, through varied compositions spilling anywhere the place. Native drapery to clouds, every little thing seems swept away in a bluster. Curvaceous bodies v pearly meat swirl approximately in a tumble the tones. And also despite this profusion and variety, top top the whole, it works.

Peter Paul Rubens, The Apotheosis that Henri IV and also the Proclamation the the Regency Room 801 (Galerie Médicis), Richelieu wing, Level 2

Being true come a series

At the Luxembourg palace, the series on the life that Marie de’ Medicis hung in a much narrower gallery 보다 this one. Relocated to the in 1790 for repair work, the canvases have been top top display due to the fact that 1817, initially in the Grande Galerie. In 1899, lock were moved to the huge room ~ above the an initial floor the the Pavillon des Sessions. The architect Gaston Redon who organised this hanging concentrated on the decorative aspect: in a nod come the Luxembourg palace, the paints were set in gilded frames and also hung on a red wall, and also no attention was payment to chronology.

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Now in the Richelieu wing, the present hanging has actually the dual advantage the letting the functions shine and also showing them as Rubens intended. Among the many imposing functions housed at the is as such once again true come itself.