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Peter Paul RUBENS

Germany (Westphalia) 1577 – Belgium (Flanders) 1640

  • also worked in Spain

Self-portrait 1623 Place made: Flanders
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas

Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: 91.3 h x 70.8 w cm original canvas 94.0 h x 70.8 w cm sight 83.5 h x 61.8 w cm Frame 112 h x 89 w x 12 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1983
Accession No: NGA 83.53
  • the artist until August 1628;
  • to Nicolas Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580-1637), Belgentier, near Toulon, and Aix-en-Provence, June 1630
  • bequeathed to Boniface Bourilly (1564-1648), Aix-en-Provence, 22 June 1637;
  • by descent to his son Michel Bourilly (1596-1688), Aix-en-Provence, in 1648;
  • [after 1679 the painting is referred to as a work by Anthony van Dyck, Rubens' disciple or student];
  • by descent to his godson Michel de Fabri-Bourilly (1659-1726), Aix-en-Provence, in 1688;
  • by descent to his nephew Gaspard de Fabri-Bourilly (d.1748), Aix-en-Provence, c.1726;
  • by descent to his son Honoré-Sauveur de Fabri-Bourilly (1737-1821), Aix-en-Provence, c.1748;
  • bequeathed to François Bermond (1752-1842), Aix-en-Provence, in 1821;
  • bequeathed to M. Roux-Alphèran (1777-1858), Aix-en-Provence, in 1842;
  • by descent to his daughter Mme Gautier de la Lauzière (d. c.1884), Aix-en-Provence, c.1858;
  • by descent to Marie-Thérèse de la Lauzière, Aix-en-Provence, c.1884;
  • Galerie Kraemer, Paris;
  • from whom bought by Léopold Goldtschmidt in 1900 [as a work by Anthony Van Dyck];
  • by descent to his son-in law Vicomte Louis de Sartiges (d.1924), in 1905;
  • by descent to his daughter Gilberte de Sartiges (d.1943), in 1924;
  • by descent to her half-sister Louise? de Greyfié de Bellecombe (d. 1977), in 1943;
  • sold at auction, Christie's London, 15 July 1977, lot 214 as "Studio of Rubens";
  • when bought by a private collector, France;
  • from whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, March 1983

PLEASE NOTE: this work is on long term loan at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney more information

Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most important Baroque artists in the seventeenth century. He was also a successful courtier and diplomat who represented the Spanish Netherlands in the courts of Europe. Rubens has painted himself in full court dress to emphasise his status as a gentleman of Antwerp. The painting is a triumph of naturalism. The development of oil paint in Northern Europe in the fifteenth century meant that artists were able to obtain greater control over colour and tone. In this self-portrait, Rubens’ high-keyed skin tones are contrasted against a dramatic, almost theatrical backdrop — the artist’s quizzical stare seems to acknowledge the artifice of painting.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra