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THE BIRTH OF MARY DE MEDICIS.
LUCINA, the goddess who presides over child-birth, presents to the city of Florence, Mary de Medicis, who is just born. The head of the young princess is surrounded by an emblem of her future grandeur. Her tutelary genius holds a cornucopia, from which issue the crown and sceptre of France, and a hand of justice. Other divinities are floating in the air, and scatter flowers upon the Queen. Two children support an escutcheon, upon which is a fleur-de-lys, adverting to the permission granted by Louis XI. to the Medici, to annex it to their arms, as a symbol of alliance. In the heavens, the sign of Sagittarius indicates the month in which the princess was born. On the fore ground is the river Arno; which, with the lion, have been introduced by the painter, in order to characterize the city of Florence.
It is observable in this picture, that Rubens has adopted a course, at once, allegorical and poetical, which he has invariably followed in the composition of the Luxembourg gallery.
The day begins to appear in the back ground. The personages are illuminated by the torch held by Lucina. This figure, instead of being erect, seems to fall forward, but the defect is amply compensated by the richness and variety of the composition.
The city of Florence, crowned with turrets and flowers, is not without grace. Her robe is blue, and the linen which passes across her bosom, and behind her shoulder, of a greenish tone. The drapery, covering the lower part of the body, is purple; and the veil of Lucina, a lively red.
The genuis that bears the horn of plenty has a slender vestment, bordering upon white. That in the middle is clothed in grey. The upper drapery of the third, violet ; the other, a dark green. The river, which is drawn in a dignified style, has a blue mantle. All these tones perfectly accord, and the reflection of the torch contributes to the harmonious correspondence of the whole.
JOURNEY OF MARY DE MEDICIS TO
UNDER the regency of Mary de Medicis a multitude assembled at Pont-de-Cé, which threatened France with civil war. The queen marched to attack the city, with a body of troops, and immediately reduced it to obedience.
To represent this occurrence, Rubens has combined allegory with history. Mary de Medicis is mounted on a white horse, with a staff in her hand. Her head is covered with a helmet, decorated with a plume of feathers. Beside her La Force is seen, attended by a lion. Victory is floating in the air, and places a crown on the head of
success is announced by Fame. An eagle darts upon some birds of prey, which she puts to Aight-in allusion to the defeat of the insurgents. This event is delineated on the back ground of the picture, where the rebels are observed presenting the keys of the city to the generals of the royal army.
There are few picturesque compositions of equal brilliancy, in point of effect, with this picture. Every thing tends to exhibit to advantage the figure of the queen. The air of this princess is dignified and cheerful. Her white satin robe is embroidered with golden fleurs de lis, and her mantle agitated by the wind. Her helmet