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Frans Pourbus the Younger, Flemish, 1569-1622
Title: Portrait of the Wife of Nicolas de Hellincx
Date: 1592
Medium: Oil on oak panel
Dimensions:
107.1 x 76.6 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1910
Object Number: NGI.606
DescriptionPourbus came from an important family of painters and probably trained with his grandfather, Pieter Pourbus, in Bruges. Although he started his career in Antwerp in the early 1590s, he soon moved to Brussels. There he worked at the court of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella, which signalled the start of his international career as a painter of court portraits. Pourbus worked at the court of the Dukes of Mantua from 1600 until 1609, when Marie de’ Medici, wife of King Henry IV of France, invited him to Paris to work on the decorations for the Petite Galerie du Louvre. In Paris his portraits were in great demand within court circles.

This painting is one of a pair of portraits representing a married couple. Its pendant, a portrait of Nicolas de Hellincx, is at the royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. Both works remained together until 1910. The costume and jewellery of Nicolas de Hellincx’s wife convey her prominent social position. She wears a Spanish coat-dress with shoulder rolls, decorated with ribbed silk bows. Spanish fashion was widely worn in the southern Netherlands, which was governed by Philip II of Spain at this time.

(National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2016)
ProvenancePurchased, Sulley and Co., London, 1910
Exhibition HistoryCentenary Exhibition, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, October - December 1964
Label TextPourbus enjoyed an international career as a painter of court portraits, and was among several artists who worked for Marie de’Medici, wife of King Henry IV of France. This painting is one of a pair of portraits representing a married couple. Its pendant depicting Nicolas de Hellincx is at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. The costume and jewellery of Hellincx’s wife, whose first name is unknown, convey her prominent social position. She wears a Spanish coat-dress with shoulder rolls, decorated with ribbed silk bows. Spanish fashion was widely worn in Flanders, which was governed by Philip II of Spain at this time.

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