Hélène Fourment, 1609

by Peter Paul Rubens
Alte Pinakothek, München

At the age of 63, Rubens married for a second time (see also wedding portrait with Isabella Brant, 1609). The bride, daughter of a merchant from Antwerpen, was only 16 years old.

The large-fronted, long bodice that Isabella had worn has been replaced by one with a tip and separate tabs and a much lower neckline. Instead of a circular ruff, ladies now either wear a soft collar lying on the shoulders or a semi-circular, standing collar. The sleeves are voluminous and have soft ruffles instead of delicate lace cuffs. Only the robe - now sleeveless - is still black and made of satin jacquard.

A married Dutch or Flemish lady would prefer a black bodice and skirt with this outfit, like Mrs Rombouts, 1632. See also Brosse's Evening of the Wedding, 1633.