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into her carriage. In
Fig. 106. Helena Fourment.
the Town presented both paintings to the Duke of Marlborough, Liberator of the Netherlands from the French; and the descendants of that hero preserved them among their art-treasures at Blenheim-Palace until 1885, when that Collection was dispersed. Beside these two portraits another at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg is considered one of the most exquisite likenesses of Ruben's second wife. She is there portrayed life-size, attired in a black silk
Fig. 107. Sketch For A Decorative Structure, erected in the Corn-Market at Amsterdam, on the occasion of the Entry of the Cardinal Infant, Ferdinand of Austria. In the centre is represented the Cardinal Infant crowned bringing hope to the dejected Belgians. Coloured sketch in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, /ifter a photograph from the original by Braun, Clement & Co., Dornach, Paris and New-York.
(To page 140.)
robe; her sleeves and head dress trimmed with mauve ribbons. Violets bloom at her feet, and a cloudy sky forms the background (Fig. 106).
In the summer of 1634 Rubens completed the paintings designed to adorn the Banqueting Hall at Whitehall. Spaniards, French and people of all nationalities nocked to admire this master-piece, which however was not despatched to England for another year. Ill-natured report suggested that the King of England had no money to pay for them, and since the pictures sustained some injury by remaining too long packed in rolls they had to be worked over again by the master before they were finally forwarded to their destination. Rubens wished very much to go over to England himself to see them finally set up in position; but gout, which now often confined him to his bed for weeks together, prevented him.
The winter of 1634—1635 brought him a commission hardly less extensive, but intended, however, as no permanent memorial but rather to give additional splendour to one of those festivals which Antwerp better than any other town knew to arrange. The King of Spain had chosen his only brother the Infant Ferdinand, Cardinal-Archbishop of Toledo as successor to the Archduchess Infanta Isabella: and on the I7"> ot April 1635, amid the acclamations of the populace, the new Governor celebrated his State Entry into the proud city of Antwerp with unprecedented splendour. The cost of the display is said to have amounted to 78,000 florins which reckoned in English money would be about £ 5000. All the artistic elements of the first rank which this Art-City could command were employed to erect a number of temporary buildings, adorned with sculpture and painting. The entire direction of this vast enterprise was given to Rubens: and he executed numberless sketches of marvellous freshness and unabated imaginative power, although whilst composing them, he was not unfrequently bound down by gout to his chair. There were in all eleven colossal compositions, five triumphal arches, four stands, one state coach and a gallery of twelve portraits, representing the Emperors of the House of Habsburg. Some of the pictorial representations in these decorations were designed to offer special honour to the Archducal couple, Albrecht and Isabella; while others did homage to the new Governor, celebrated as the Victor of Nordlingen, a battle fought by him in company with King Ferdinand of Hungary against the Swedes. He had also inflicted heavy loss on the Dutch at Caloo, from which date they had to lament the destruction of their trade by the blockade of the Scheldt: and hopes were expressed that the new ruler would ameliorate this condition of affairs. Some of the representations were in entirely mythological form, others were allegories in which history and mythology were combined, to explain which Gevaerts composed Latin Poems. The architecture was a rich baroque, a style into which in the hands of Rubens that of the Italian Renaissance usually developed.
Unfortunately on account of his ailment the artist could not be present at the festivities on the day of the State Entry, but the Cardinal Infant paid him a visit the very next day to express his personal gratitude, and the admiration inspired in him by this great and most successful work. We hear further that he conversed with Rubens for some time, evidently taking great pleasure in his society.
These temporary architectural decorations remained in position but a few weeks: but the most important of the paintings were subsequently restored and presented by the Cardinal Infant as a gift from the town of Antwerp to the city of Brussels, together with the portrait-busts of the Emperors. The remainder were put up to auction, but as the first portion of them realised but a very small amount, the Municipality decided to keep the rest to serve again on future occasions. It is not known exactly what became of them, but probably the greater part were lost. One of the larger compositions, however, has been preserved, and fortunately one of which, not only the design, but also the execution is due to Rubens himself. This is is now in the Dresden Gallery. It served to decorate an erection near St. George's Church: in it Neptune the God of the Sea is represented calming the waves during the voyage of the Cardinal Infant. This canvas is known under the title of Virgil's well known words "Quos ego". The portraits of King Ferdinand and the Infant his namesake, now in the Royal Museum at Vienna, it seems also, adorned the same erection. They were however not painted by Rubens himself, although his masterly influence show their expressive countenances. The same statement applies to the great picture the Meeting of the two Ferdinands before the battle of Nordlingen, also the work of a pupil. By the master himself are the two splendidly decorative portraits of Albrecht and Isabella now in the Museum at Brussels, which were designed for a Triumphal Arch. Of the sketches there are many more still in existence, although they represent but a small part of the whole work. In the Collection at Windsor there is a sketch for the picture of the Battle of Nordlingen, whilst three architectural sketches are in the Museum at Antwerp and six at the Hermitage. Among the latter there is the sketch for the above mentioned Neptune and another