Peter Paul Rubens and Isabella Brant.
by Rubens himself, 1609.

Alte Pinakothek, München

Rubens' right shoulder left foot Isabella's head bodice, sleeve & collar bodice tip hand

Isabella Brant:
* 1591
+ 1626 Antwerpen
daughter of the Antwerp patrician Jan Brant

Peter Paul Rubens:
* 1577 Siegen
+ 1640 Antwerpen
son of Jan Rubens and Maria Pypelinckx
Painter to the court of the Duke of Mantova, then to the court of Albert and Isabella. Married Isabella Brant in 1609. Knighted in Spain and England for his diplomatic missions. Re-married in 1630 (see portrait of Hélène Fourment). His fame as a painter and connections to the court ensured Rubens' wealth and an upperclass clothing style. This double portrait, painted around the time of the marriage, was probably meant for the bride's parents.

Rubens' collar and Isabella's cap, neck ruffle and cuffs are trimmed with very fine Reticella or (more probably) Punto in Aria, a highly expensive type of needle lace. Her bodice (or stomacher?) appears to be made of cloth of silver, brocaded with gold. The is gold braid on her skirt, and the robe is partially made of an interesting fabric with diagonal stripes of dull and shiny portions - all in all a very rich clothing style, considering that Rubens was only a painter. Obviously Rubens' art was already regarded highly. And the bride, well... a merchant's daughter, and we know that in the Netherlands, it was the merchants who had the power and the money, not some nobility.



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