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Height: 381.000 mm
Width: 294.000 mm
Prints and Drawings
Peter Paul Rubens, Isabella Brant, a portrait drawing
The Netherlands, around AD 1621
This portrait of Rubens's first wife, Isabella Brant (1591-1626) is drawn in coloured chalks with pale brown wash and white heightening. It is a deservedly famous portrait.
Rubens used the
red chalk to bring out the warm flesh of the face and ears. Gentle
Both the large scale of the drawing and the stare of the sitter draw us to her. She has a warm smile, the head is beautifully finished and her facial features are highly polished and modelled. Her attractive personality is clear for all to see. Her marriage to Rubens was successful and at her death in 1626 she was much mourned by her husband and family.
While there are several painted portraits of Isabella by Rubens, this drawing stands out for its immediacy and attractiveness. His pupil, Anthony van Dyck, also admired this drawing as he used it for his own portrait of Isabella Brant (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC).
J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)
J. Rowlands, Rubens: drawings and sketches (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)
C. White, Peter Paul Rubens: man and art (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1987)