Peter Paul Rubens and workshop: The Disembarkation of Maria de' Médici at Marseilles (1621-1625)

(Louvre, Paris, France)

This painting is a part of a series of 24 paintings which are dedicated to the life and its 'glorious moments of Maria de' Médici (1575-1642), second wife of king Henry IV of France and a very powerful woman at her time. The entire series was created by Rubens and his workshop, Rubens created all the figures while his workshop did the rest. This painting, the 6th of the series, shows the arrival of Maria de' Médici at Marseilles. Maria de' Médici was married by proxy to Henry IV in Florence and arrives the France join her husband. Rubens turns an ordinary such as this into something special. Maria de' Médici is shown here leaving the ship down a gangplank. She is assisted by Grand Duchess of Tuscany and her sister, the Duchess of Mantua. Maria is being greeted by a person with a helmet and the royal blue mantle with the golden fleur-de-lis - this is the personified France who greets her with open arms. Above Maria victory or 'ethereal fame' blows two trumpets simultaneously, announcing the arrival of Maria to the people of France. On the ship (with a shield with the heraldic symbol of the de' Médici) a Knight of Malta watches the scene. Below the Poseidon, three Nereids, an unknown sea-god and a Triton rise from the sea, after having escorted the future Queen on the long voyage to procure her safe arrival in Marseilles. Notice how the three Nereids are holding the cables of the ship of Maria de' Médici so she can disembark safely. Painting from 1621-1625.