Rubens was born in Siege, Germany, in 1577. He was a prominent baroque artist. He supported Baroque movement of arts and travelled popularize it around Europe. The purpose of this paper is to use visual skills to analyze the portrait of “Marchesa Brigida Spinola Doria”.
The title of the painting is “Marchesa Broginda Spinola Doria” by Peter Paul Rubens. Although the exact date is not known, Rubens indicates that he finished this work in 1606 at the time he was working in Genoa. The portrait shows a young Marchesa Broginda Spinola Doria in her wedding gown at the age of 22, just after she married Giacomo Massimiliano Doria in 1605.
The extravagant Baroque style, to which Rubens belonged, was one of the most popular artistic movements in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. This is because it placed a lot of emphasis on color, movement and sensuality (Andersen, 2006). Although this portrait does not provide evidence of movement, it is easy to analyze it in terms of Baroque movement, with the reference to exaggerations in color, light, emotions and sensationalism (Buci-Glucksmann, 1994).
Like most popular paintings of the Baroque movement, Reuben’s “Portrait of Marchesa Broginda Spinola Doria” was developed using oil on canvas. From an analysis of the portrait, the viewer notes the gaze and the angle of architecture. This indicates that Rubens intended his audience to use a worm’s eye view.
According to the National Gallery of Arts, the painting was initially large and more imposing, but it was cut into a smaller frame sometimes in the 19th century (National Gallery of Arts, 2013). Brigida’s pose is evidently static, with no evidence of movement. However, Rubens emphasized on the exaggerated light, which in this case, is successful in activating the pose.
In addition, some diagonal flow of red curtain behind Brigida provides a good way of activating the static pose. Moreover, it is worth noting how Reuben has used his skills in applying thin but fine brush. For instance, the slivery satin dress worn by Brigida as part of her attractive and seemingly expensive dress was developed using layers of almost translucent glazes.
In fact, to achieve this, Rubens highlighted it with thick and freely painted strokes of brush. It is clear that Rubens must have spent adequate amount of time in developing this portrait because it appears that he combined his bold style of painting with traditional style of focusing on details.
Emphasis on color is evident. Rubens has used both primary and secondary colors. The whitish-grey color of the dress, the bright-red curtain, the whitish brown color of the face, the red lips the black eyes of Brigida are the most eye-catching features of the portrait. Light and dark are also evident in the work. For instance, while exaggeration of light is evident on the particular details of the subject such as the face and the dress, the objects behind her are actually fading to give the subject ability to attract the viewer’s eye.
The symmetrical details of the portrait give the subject its dominance on the plane. Brigida occupies more than 80% of the portrait. The smooth texture of the dress other details shows the preciousness of the wedding gown, while the smooth texture of the face indicate the beauty with Brigida.
I selected this portrait as an example of age-old portraits that still show the skills and talent of the ancient artists. In addition, it demonstrates the need for appraising Baroque as one style that contributed to the evolution of modern arts. It is clear that Rubens was attempting to show the beauty of women in Genoa and the need for cities and states to appreciate, respect and appreciate their women.
Andersen, L. (2006). Baroque and Rococo Art. New York: H. N. Abrams.
Buci-Glucksmann, N. (1994). Baroque Reason: The Aesthetics of Modernity. New York, NY: Sage
National Gallery of Arts. (2013). The portrait of Marchesa Brigida Spinola Doria, 1606 by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Retrieved from https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.46159.html