Head of an Old Woman, c. 1615
Peter Paul Rubens
oil on oak
52 x 43.3 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3339)
The study of a head of a woman, probably a servant in the artist's household, belongs to a series of heads Rubens made around 1615, many of which he used for larger compositions. This woman appears in at least two mythological pictures, her costume modified accordingly. Rubens, the leading Flemish painter of his time, was instrumental in developing the Baroque style in Northern Europe. His travels and work in Italy, Spain, England, and France made him a force in both the artistic and diplomatic worlds.