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Peter Paul Rubens 1577 – 1640, The Medici Cycle: The Triumph of Juliers, 1st September 1610, 1622 – 1625
The Marie de' Medici Cycle is a beautiful series of twenty-four paintings by Rubens commissioned by Marie de' Medici, widow of Henry IV of France, for the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. Twenty-one of these paintings depict Marie's own struggles and triumphs in life. The remaining three are portraits of herself and her parents. The paintings now hang in the Louvre in Paris.
The Victory at Jülich shows the only military event that the Queen participated in: the return of Jülich (or Juliers in French) to the Protestant princes. Being a crossing of Ruhr, Juliers was of great strategic importance for France and thus the French victory was chosen to be the glorious subject of Rubens' painting. The colours of this pocket square are striking and make a beautiful addition to any outfit, especially when worn as a puff fold.
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Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640) was a remarkable character, not only being a successful painter of European renown but he also played an important diplomatic role in 17th century European politics. In his painting he was a proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasised movement, colour and sensuality and is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes and paintings of mythological subjects.
As a famous painter he was often commissioned by European royalty and when a 12 year truce between the Dutch and the Spanish broke down in 1621 Rubens was called to the courts of England and France as they decided who to ally themselves with. As painters had reason to travel to foreign courts, he was well placed to carry out secret negotiations without his presence arising suspicion. For his efforts the Archduchess Isabella made him ‘gentleman of the household’ in 1627. He then returned to being a prolific painter, producing over 80 paintings in the 1630's for King Phillip of Spain alone. See more information about the artist on his Wikipedia page Peter Paul Rubens.
The scene is rich with symbolism highlighting Marie's heroism and victory. In the upper part of the image Victoria appears crowning her with laurel leaves which is a symbol of victory. Also symbolizing victory is the imperial eagle which can be seen in the distance and the eagle in the sky compels the weaker birds to flee. Accompanying the Queen is a womanly embodiment of what was once thought to be Fortitude because of the lion beside her. However, the figure is Magnanimity, also referred to as Generosity, because of the riches held in her palm.
One of the pieces in her hand is the Queen's treasured strand of pearls. Other figures include Fame and the personification of Austria with her lion. Fame in the right side of the painting pushes air through the trumpet so powerfully that a burst of smoke comes out. In the painting Marie de’ Medici is highly decorated and triumphant after the collapse of a city. She is depicted across a white stallion to demonstrate that, like the departed King Henry IV, she could triumph over rivals in warfare.
The art of hand rolling pocket squares is a unique craft and truly makes each piece individual and unique. We feel that the precision and care taken by our skilled artisans gives each scarf its own unique character, finish and feel. To create the finest rolled hems, the edge of the silk or cotton pocket square must be softy turned over with a handheld needle and then small stitches are inserted approximately one half to one centimetre apart around the edge, creating a supple yet prominent border.
It’s absolutely the best way to finish a pocket square for a variety of reasons but the key ones are for both visual effect and structure. Rolling by hand is the only way to get a really nice clean plump finish on the edge and this gives a really nice depth to the edges. It’s a more expensive process than machine rolling but by using a machine you’re often left with a flat edge and you don’t get the same luxurious feel. On top of this, the rolled edges add a lot more structure to your pocket square.
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