Visiting Louvre can be an unforgettable experience in the life of a person because this palace hosts one of the finest art collections in the world. In many cases, an individual can be dazzled by the sheer variety and number of magnificent paintings displayed in this museum. It is one of the difficulties that I encountered. I did not want to choose pictures that are widely discussed. For instance, I did not pick Mona Lisa. Instead, I would like to discuss Paul Rubens’ Portrait of Anna of Spain. In my opinion, this work illustrates remarkable artistic techniques that this painter developed. Moreover, it can tell the viewers about the time and society in which Rubens lived and worked. Apart from that, this portrait reflects the values of the person depicted by the author.
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Even if a viewer does not know about the context of the picture, he/she can assume that Rubens describes a very affluent woman who occupies a prominent position in the society. Much attention should be paid to pearls, gold embroidery, and jewelry that could be afforded only by a limited number of people. Thus, one can suppose that the woman is either a high-standing aristocrat or the wife of a wealthy merchant. Other people were less likely to afford these things. It is one of the issues that should be taken into account.
Furthermore, this painting shows that in the seventeenth century, women needed to spend much time on the selection of their clothing. In this way, they tried to emphasize their status. Moreover, one can suppose that it was physically difficult for them to wear such garments. So, this artwork reflects the material culture that existed in Western Europe in the first half of the seventeenth century. Additionally, the work shows that people could attach much importance to their portraits (Harris 171). For instance, Anna of Spain wanted to highlight her royal status. This picture was supposed to immortalize her. She thought about her legacy and Rubens could help her preserve it.
It is also possible to examine some artistic techniques that can attract a person’s attention. For example, one can tell that artists often made references to the ancient culture. In particular, Rubens paints a building with ornamented columns. This architectural element is typical of both ancient Greece and Rome. This detail serves as a part of the background. I have observed the portraits in which similar techniques are applied.
In my opinion, the artist tried to demonstrate that Anna of Spain had been a powerful and sensitive woman at the same time. Additionally, Rubens wanted to showcase his ability to capture even minute details. This argument is particularly relevant to the way in which he portrays the ornaments of Anna’s dress. Moreover, Rubens wanted to illustrate the richness of his palette and ability to use the shades of different colors.
Overall, this painting has made a profound impact on me. In particular, it has enabled me to immerse into the atmosphere of the seventeenth century. In part, this effect was intensified by other paintings exhibited in Louvre. Indeed, Louvre hosts other artistic masterpieces, but the chosen picture can illustrate the civilization that emerged in the seventeenth century. Additionally, the work exemplifies remarkable techniques that are difficult to emulate. Thus, it can be distinguished from other paintings displayed in Louvre.
Harris, Ann. Seventeenth-century Art and Architecture, New York: Laurence King Publishing, 2005. Print.
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