Arrival of Maria Medici in Marseille - Rubens. 394x295 cm
In 1622, Rubens received an order from Maria Medici to write a series of paintings consisting of 21 canvases and reflecting the main milestones of her life. One of the most striking paintings of the cycle is “The Arrival of Maria Medici to Marseille”.
The plot is based on that memorable day when the future queen's foot first set foot on the French coast. It cannot be said that this fact was surrounded by a certain halo of fame and magnificent honors, although Maria arrived on a beautiful sparkling ship, accompanied by three fleets and brought with her seven thousand Italians, who were destined from that moment to live in France, however, the painter was able to turn her Arrival in a real extravaganza, magnificent rite.
The heroine herself is surrounded by so many bright characters that you can’t immediately see her against their background. First of all, the eye stops at the naked sirens, located at the bottom of the picture. Next to them we see Neptune and Triton. Over the head of the new queen, the glory soaring in the sky trumpets the arrival.
Maria coming down from the ship is greeted with arms outstretched, two characters personifying all of France and Marseille in particular.
The entire Rubens cycle about Maria Medici was of great political importance - the queen had just returned from exile, finally reconciling with her son, King Louis XIII, and the paintings were supposed to help strengthen the situation and restore her reputation at court. Creating the image of the queen, Rubens managed to exalt him, give regal grandeur and weightily transform the ordinary fate of Maria de Medici.