The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna openend to the public in 1891. Hans Makart (1840–84) had originally been commissioned to execute the painting for the ceiling as well as fanlight, spandrel, and intercolumnar areas as part of the interior decorations in the main staircase of the new built museum. The contract was signed in February 1881; in the same year an imperial delegation was able to view the artist’s initial sketches. Shortly before his death, Makart had completed the fanlight paintings depicting “classical heroes of painting” and their “favourite materials”. The relationship between painter and model – Makart here cites Rubens’ portrait of his second wife, Helena Fourment (The Fur, c. 1636/38; KHM, Gemäldegalerie, Inv. No. 688) – is reflected in the intimate embrace of the two, although the dynamism and initiative is reserved to the “painter prince”. For this painting too, Makart did not make use of the self-portrait in the museum’s collections (c. 1638/40; KHM, Gemäldegalerie, Inv. No. 527), which was painted at about the same time as The Fur, but instead referred to an earlier work dating to 1623/24 (Windsor Castle, Royal Collection). For further Information on the building see: Cäcilia Bischoff, The Kunsthistorisches Museum. History, Architecture, Decoration, Vienna 2010


  • Title: Peter Paul Rubens
  • Creator: Hans Makart
  • Creator Lifespan: 1840/1884
  • Creator Nationality: austrian
  • Creator Gender: male
  • Creator Death Place: Vienna
  • Creator Birth Place: Salzburg
  • Date Created: 1881/1884
  • Type: Interior decoration

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