The oil sketch entitled Henry IV Seizes the Opportunity to Conclude Peace painted around 1628 is also known by its short title of Occasio. The composition of the wooden panel is divided into two levels: on the lower level a half-naked woman is seated on the ground, her cheek propped on her hand, looking out of the picture. The upper level shows a many-figured scene in a cartouche. At the centre of this scene stands Pax, the personification of peace. With her right hand she grasps the forelock of Occasio. From the Renaissance, Occasio, the personification of opportunity, was represented as a naked woman bent forward, with a long forelock and the back of her head shaven. Saturn, the ancient god of Time, has brought opportunity along. Encouraged by Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, a man in armour approaches from the right to grasp occasion by the forelock in order to make peace. The half-naked female figure in the lower part of the picture is the personification of Vigilantia. Around her left arm twines a snake as the symbol of vigilance and in her right hand she holds a club which rests on the ground as a symbol of the force of the blow that can strike at any time. The eagle behind her with its clawful of thunderbolts represents Jupiter, the father of the gods. This oil sketch may have been painted in connection with the commission Rubens had received in 1622 from Maria de' Medici to execute two cycles of paintings for the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris. The sketch would have served as a cartoon for a series of tapestries probably planned as additional decoration for an antechamber to Henry IV's gallery.
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Peter Paul Rubens
Henry IV seizes the Opportunity to conclude Piece, 1628
Oil on panel
height 64 cm, width 50 cm
Inv.-No. GE100
Provenance: presumably acquired by Prince Johann Adam Andreas I von Liechtenstein before 1712; identified for the first time as a fideicommissum by the seal of 1733
Further works on display
Decius Mus relating his dream, 1616/1617
Decius Mus preparing for Death, 1616/1617
The Death of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Dismissal of the Lictors, 1616/1617
The Interpretation of the Victim, 1616/1617
The Trophy, 1616/1617
The Assumption of the Virgin, c. 1637
Venus in Front of the Mirror, 1614/1615
Oil sketch of Mars and Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
Mars und Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
The Discovery of the Infant Erichthonius, c. 1616
Satyr and Maid with Fruit Basket, 1615
The Lamentation, c. 1612
Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death, 1615/1622
Double Portrait of Albert and Nikolaus Rubens, c. 1626/1627
Portrait of Jan Vermoelen, 1616
Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, c. 1616
The Victory of Henry IV at Coutras, 1628
The Consecration of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus
Three Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Joachim, 1615/1620
St. Catherine in the Clouds, 1620/1621
Four Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Anne, 1615/1620
Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, 1621/1625
The Conversion of St. Paul, 1601/1602
Perseus and Andromeda
The Virgin adorned with flowers, 1609/1610
Psyche taken up into Olympus, 1621
Landscape with Milkmaids and Cows, 1616
Allegory of war, 1628
The Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta, 1628 (?)
The Assumption of the Virgin, modello, 1637
Ganymede, 1611/1612
Diana´s Hunt, 1628
St. Francis of Assisi before the Crucified Christ, 1625
Portrait of a Monk (?)
Adoration of the Magi, 1609/1610
The Visitation, 1611/1612
Portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, 1615
Samson and Delilah, c. 1610
Related themes
Rubens in Wien
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