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Peter Paul Rubens and Elena Fohrman: The Inspiration of True Love
Peter Paul Rubens and Elena Fohrman: The Inspiration of True Love
Peter Paul Rubens and Elena Fohrman

The young goddess, praised by poets, appeared to Peter Paul Rubens at a time when he was almost unable to draw. The death of his first wife seemed to deprive him of his talent, and he went into politics. But the beautiful Elena Fohrman, the young blonde diva who became the Master's wife, once again returned his inspiration. The paintings of the greatest Flemish painter sparkled with new colors, new notes sounded in them.

Peter Paul Rubens

Self-portrait by Rubens, 1628

He mourned his first wife, beloved Isabella, in 1626. For four long years he could not find consolation, just as he could not find the strength to write again. He entrusted his work to his students, completely surrendering himself to political activity, directing all efforts to establish peace between England and Spain. He was forced to marry at the Spanish Court, but the artist resisted this as best he could. He made a living with his own talent and the brush of an artist. This could hardly please the lady of the court, who in every possible way would be ashamed of her husband's craft. But Peter was no longer able to endure loneliness.

Elena Fourman

Portrait of Helena Fourman, the artist's second wife, 1630

Elena was born into the family of a respectable carpet and tapestry merchant. With the girl's father, Daniel Fourman, Rubens has been making acquaintance for many years. The young diva is the eleventh, youngest child, treated kindly and beloved. The charmingly innocent, white-skinned and blond beauty Elena was cheerful and perky. She shone with inner joy, perfect contentment with life. Elena has become a true embodiment of the dream of a brilliant artist. Fresh, full-bodied and so inviting.

Cozy family happiness

Portrait of Helena Fourman in wedding dress, 1631

In December 1630, Peter Pierre Rubens, who had reached the age of 53, was married to Helena Fourman, a 16-year-old girl. This marriage could seem unequal and cause ridicule from the spiteful critics. But the respected knight and famous artist did not care who and what would say about his life. He is happy, he can paint again and show the world his immortal canvases. Elena brought him back to life, he found inspiration and happiness thanks to his young muse.

Self-portrait with Elena Fourman in the garden in Antwerp

Rubens lost his freedom, but gained something much more. She may be only 16, but next to her he is again young in soul and body. Could a marriage with an aging court lady bring him such joy? He did not need the kisses of the old woman, as he himself confessed in a letter to his friend Peyrescu. He began to live in peace with his wife and his children. All he wanted was a peaceful life.

Pictures as a reflection of love

Portrait of Elena Fohrman

Peter Paul Rubens loved and, apparently, was loved. His Elena the Beautiful captivated and charmed, beckoned and excited the imagination. White porcelain skin with a healthy young blush, a clear look, a charming smile - she was created in order to paint her portraits. And the artist wrote. She became the heroine of many of his paintings. Rubens, without any modesty and bashfulness, shared the charm of his wife's youth on his canvases.

Elena Fourman with children

From under his brush came out images of his muse, stunning in their realism. And now sometimes it seems that this is not a picture, but a living reflection in the mirror of a gilded frame. Right now the wind will stir up the frills of the young lady's dress, and she will run away, shyly hiding her eyes.

The image of Elena with children conveys such a deep peace, such a fullness of maternal feelings that it is simply impossible not to be moved by looking at how this beautiful girl looks at a child sitting in her arms.


She was a goddess, Rubens painted her in this image in the "Judgment of Paris".


She was a lover, belonging only to him, and he portrayed her in "The Garden of Love." He dressed her in incredibly luxurious outfits. And he undressed her, showing the world her unearthly and at the same time such earthly beauty.

Such a short happiness

Self-portrait with Elena Furman and son

Peter Paul Rubens in his second marriage was meted out only 10 years of happiness. Merciless gout first bound the hands of the master, and then deprived him of his life. But these 10 years he was immensely happy. He loved life and himself in this life. The last 10 years have been extremely fruitful for the artist in every sense. Elena gave birth to 4 children during his lifetime. The youngest daughter of Rubens was born eight and a half months after the artist's death. And in this event was all the artist's irrepressible craving for life and earthly joys. Exhausted by illness, at the age of almost 63, he was still young in body and soul.

The last self-portrait of Peter Paul Rubens

He painted many paintings and achieved the greatest skill in the realism of the depiction of the human body. He left behind many disciples. He immortalized in his paintings his muse, his goddess, his dream.

Portrait of Helena Fourment with Frans Rubens

After the death of Rubens, Elena Fourman, ashamed of her nakedness, wants to destroy all her images without clothes. But through her spiritual father, Cardinal Ferdinand will persuade her not to commit reckless acts and leave the paintings for future generations.

Love can be an inspiration not only for artists, but also for physicists. This is confirmed by a touching story of love and discoveries. Maria Sklodowska and Pierre Curie.

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