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Drawing - Maria de’ Medici (1573–1642)
  • Maria de’ Medici (1573–1642)
    Rubens, Peter Paul, born 1577 - died 1640
  • Enlarge image

Maria de’ Medici (1573–1642)

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    c.1622 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rubens, Peter Paul, born 1577 - died 1640 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black chalk (wet on the eye) with touches of red chalk on the hair and face (wet on the mouth and nostrils), heightened with white on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Dalton Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition

Physical description

A study for the head of the Queen in 'The Majority of Louis XIII' in the Louvre (Rosenberg 258).

Place of Origin

France (made)


c.1622 (made)


Rubens, Peter Paul, born 1577 - died 1640 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Black chalk (wet on the eye) with touches of red chalk on the hair and face (wet on the mouth and nostrils), heightened with white on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed in brown ink: at lower left, by Padre Resta, Monsu Bernardo discepol.o di Rambrand dubitò che fusse / David Bex, Suedese d.o id Gondonlene (?) [sic] p[er] Christina Regina di Suetia (‘Monsù Bernardo [Keilhau], pupil of Rembrandt, doubted that it was by David Beck, Swedish so-called ... for Christina, Queen of Sweden’); at lower right, in another hand, Monsu Malville lo chiamò / di Rubbens & Maria de Medici / in Parigi (‘Mr Malville [identified] it as by Rubens of Maria de’ Medici in Paris’); and between these, by John, Lord Somers, l. 306.


Height: 341 mm, Width: 246 mm

Object history note

Note: In the collection of Lord Somers, ca. 1700. Monsu Bernardo mentioned in the inscription was Bernhard Keil (1624-1687), while David Bex refers to the Dutch artist David Beck (1621-1656), who in 1647 was appointed court painter to Queen Christina and in 1653 was working in Rome under the pseudonym Gulden Szepter. See F. Lugt Notes sur Rubens in La Gazette des Beaux Arts, vol XII, 1925, pp. 179-202, and Gluck and Haberditzl, catalogue no. and plate 151, where the date of the drawing is given as 1622. See Rowlans No. 153 (p.112)

Provenance: Padre Sebastiano Resta (1635–1714), Milan (Book L, no. 306) (L. 2992); John, Lord Somers, Chancellor of England (1650–1716), London (L. 2981); Miss Emily Dalton (1816/17–1900), Leicester, by whom bequeathed to the museum (NAL dry stamp on recto; not in Lugt), 1900.

Descriptive line

Drawing; A study for the head of Maria de’ Medici (1573–1642), in the "Majority of Louis XIII"; by Peter Paul Rubens; Black chalk with touches of red chalk heightened with white, Flemish School, c.1622

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jane Shoaf Turner and Christopher White, Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014, vol. II, Cat. 526, illus.

Labels and date

Rubens drew this portrait study of the French Queen Mother for an important cycle of twenty-four paintings depicting her life. Preparatory studies like this were not definitive but could be altered in the final composition. Here Maria’s head is raised but in the finished painting titled The Majority of Louis XIII (now in the Louvre, Paris), she bows her head deferentially before her son the King. []


Chalk; Chalk; Opaque White; Paper





Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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