Sunday, 15 April 2018

Jean Audran’s etching (with engraving), “Henri IV deliberates on his future marriage”, after Rubens, c1708


Jean Audran (1667–1756)

“Henri IV délibère sur son futur mariage” (as inscribed on plate; transl. “Henri IV deliberates on his future marriage”) after the painting (now in the Musée du Louvre, inv. no.1772) by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–164), c1707–9, plate 7 from the series of 25 plates (including the frontispiece) reproducing Rubens’ paintings commissioned by  Marie de Médici in 1621 to illustrated episodes from her life, “La Gallerie du Palais du Luxembourg”, published in Paris by the intermediary draughtsman/designer, Jean Marc Nattier (aka Jean Marc Natier) (1685–1766) with privilege.

Etching and engraving on heavy laid paper with small margins.
Size: (sheet) 51.6 x 36.8 cm; (plate) 50.3 x 35 cm; (image borderline) 44.8 x 33.8 cm

Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) "Rubens pinxit"; (centre in five lines of French text) “Henri IV. délibère sur son futur marriage. / Jupiter et Junon ayant consulté ensemble sur le marriage du Roy, et luy ayant inspiré le chois de son Épouse / l’hymenée lui en aporte le portrait, et l’Amour fait observer à ce Monarque tous les traits de la beauté dont on voit / qu’it est epris: Et pendant que la France le sollicite à la conclusion, deux amours se saisissent de son casque et de son / bouclier, comme pour lui ôter les instrumens de la guerre et pout laisser jouir le Royaume d’une longue paix.”; (right of centre below the five lines of text) “A. Paris chez le S.r Nattier Peintre de l'Academie Royale rüe Frementeau. Avec Privilege du Roy."; (right) "I.M. Nattier delineavit. I. Audran Sculpsit."

(Transl. “Henri IV deliberates on his future marriage. / Jupiter and Juno having consulted together on the marriage of the King, and having inspired him the choice of his Bride / the hymenée [Hymen or God of Marriage] brings him the portrait, and the Love makes observe to this Monarch all the features of the beauty of which we see / that it is taken: And while France solicits it to the conclusion, two loves seize his helmet and his / shield, as for him to remove the instruments of the war and to allow to enjoy the Kingdom of a long peace.)

Schneevoogt 1873 220.19.7 (C G Voorhelm Schneevoogt 1873, “Catalogue des estampes gravées d'après P.P.Rubens”, Haarlem); IFF 30 (XVIIIc) (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930); Le Blanc 331

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 7: The Presentation of the portrait of Marie de' Medici; Henri IV standing in armour at left and looking up at a painted portrait of his future wife, held by Hymen and Cupid, Jupiter and Juno onlooking from above, a female personification of France standing behind the king, two putti carrying away the king's armour below; after Peter Paul Rubens.”

Condition: crisp and well-inked impression with small margins in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing, but there are minor spots of light toning in the outer margin).

I am selling this large print, reproducing a pivotal event in Ruben’s famous suite of paintings featuring and commissioned by Marie de Médici, for AU$197 in total (currently US$153.03/EUR124.05/GBP107.50 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this fascinating translation of a non-verbal communication between the ancient gods and Henri IV as he consults with them about a possible marriage with the lady who commissioned the image and features in the portrait at the image centre, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold



This etching (with engraving) translates Ruben’s painting of Henri IV—the King of France and Navarre (1553–1610)—in a moment of quandary as Henri contemplates a potential marriage with Marie de Médici that the ancient gods are encouraging.

In the foreground at left, Henri IV is presented by Hymen (the God of Marriage) with a framed portrait a lightly smiling Marie de Médici as a potential spouse. Just in case Henri may not notice this framed portrait, Cupid (the God of Love) assists by pointing his index finger towards Marie’s face. Henri, however, is clearly ignoring Cupid’s invitation to look at the painting as his eyes have ascended to the two gods—Jupiter (the chief god of the Roman pantheon) and Hera (Jupiter’s consort and protector women’s concerns)—portrayed in the clouds above. From my reading of the direction of Henri’s gaze, he seems to be non-verbally consulting with these gods about taking Marie’s hand in marriage. Judging by Jupiter’s approving smile seen in context with the slight tilt to Hera’s head and her hand resting on Jupiter’s thigh while gesturing broadly in the direction of Henri and the framed Marie, I think that Henri would be in little doubt that he had their blessing. To ensure that Henri doesn’t change his mind, note that Marianne (the personification of France) portrayed immediately behind Henri is about to nudge him towards the proffered portrait and a pending marriage.







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