Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Head of Marie de' Medici; in profile to left, with her hair piled high on her head Pen and brown ink

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1600-1608 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 64 millimetres
    • Width: 38 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed on mount: "P.P. Rubens"
  • Curator's comments

    Perhaps an early drawing from the Italian years, possibly done on the occasion of the marriage by proxy of Marie to Henry IV of France (5th October 1600).

    Rowlands, Rubens: Drawings & Sketches, BMP, 1977
    To judge from its style this is an early drawing from Rubens's stay in Italy. This view receives further support from the high dressing of the sitter's hair, which was fashionable at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Rubens was present in Florence at Marie de Medicis's marriage by proxy to Henry IV of France on 5 October 1600, and it is quite likely that the drawing was done on this occasion. The artist attended as a member of the retinue of the Duke of Mantua whose service he had recently entered as a court painter. The Duke of Mantua himself was the husband of the bride's elder sister. It is possible, although there is no positive evidence, that Rubens may have planned as a courtly gesture to add a portrait of Marie to the Duke's collection of pretty women in his "gallery of beauties" at Mantua.


  • Bibliography

    • Rowlands 1977 12 bibliographic details
    • Hind 1915-31 89 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Flemish Roy XVIIc)

  • Exhibition history

    1974 July-Dec, BM, Portrait Drawings, no.89 1977 BM, Rubens drawings and sketches, no.12

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Head of Marie de' Medici; in profile to l, with her hair piled high on her head Pen and brown ink


Head of Marie de' Medici; in profile to l, with her hair piled high on her head Pen and brown ink

Image description



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Object reference number: PDO12584

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