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THE DESTINY OF THE QUEEN MARY DE
The Fates weave the destiny of the queen; they are ingeniously disposed in order to unite the composition with the sky of the picture, where Jupiter and Juno are seen presiding over their labours. The head of the goddess is full of expression: her robe is of a clear violet; and her veil, transparent and light, floats in the heavens. Jupiter, to whom the artist has had the address of giving those traits by which he is characterized in the works of the ancients, has a red drapery. The Fates are somewhat heavy in point of drawing; but the colouring is brilliant and correct. The light is introduced from above; and the shades acquire vigour in proportion as they retire from the luminous foyer, which gives considerable effect and harmony to the whole.
The circumstances which gave rise to the series of paintings that embellish the Gallery of the Luxembourg, of which the subject under review forms a distinguished ornament, are briefly these. Mary de Medicis, the daughter of Francis II. Grand Duke of Tuscany, married, in 1573, Henry IV. king of France, and in 1610 was appointed regent of the kingdom upon the death of that illustrious prince. Various objects of dissention arose between the queen and her son, Louis XIII, which Richelieu, then bishop, and afterwards cardinal, had the policy to accommodate. The following year Mary, upon her return to Paris, being desirous of immortalizing the principal events of a disturbed life, sent for Rubens, then in the meridian of his glory, to receive her commands. Rubens immediately repaired to Paris, where he made choice of the subjects, and drew the designs. The pictures he afterwards finished in the space of three years.
The gallery commences with the birth of this princess, in 1573, and terminates with the reconciliation with her son, in 1619.