The lady in the straw hat, Peter Paul Rubens

Description of the picture:

The lady in the straw hat is Peter Paul Rubens. Around 1625. Oil on canvas. 79×55

   Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is a great Flemish artist who, like no one else, embodied the vitality and sensuality of European Baroque painting. Although he was famous for large-scale works on mythological and religious themes, he was also a virtuoso master of landscape and portrait.

   The hat is such a characteristic detail in this work that the word “lady” is often omitted from its name. How many generations of viewers have heard, read in books, examined a picture with this name, without “stumbling” about its absurdity! Is the hat straw, especially with such a feather? Of course, it’s luxurious. Felt hat, fashionable in the 17th century. Rubens himself wrote more than once in it. An error in the name arose in the 18th century in France, where in one of the catalogs of the artist’s works the canvas was written: “Le Chapeau de Paille” (“Straw Hat”). This, of course, is a mistake: instead of “paille” there should be “poil” (from French – “felt”).

   The picture shows a beautiful woman – Susanna Furman, daughter of an Antwerp merchant of tapestries and silk, married. The master painted her wedding portrait with a wedding ring, which attracts attention and could, like a hat, appear in the title as a distinctive detail of the work.

   In 1630, Rubens married her younger sister Elena. He created an equally delightful portrait of his wife in a similar hat, where no one called her “straw”!"

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