OIL PAINTING: Self-portrait, 1639
This is the last of Rubens's four self-portrait, executed shortly before his death. The portrait shows Rubens dressed in black and wearing a feather hat, like the musketeer he had always been. Beneath the sunken lid glints an eye laden with the experience of life. He seems to have lived a blessed existence and in doing so to have reached a true serenity of heart. Gout alone had his measure. Despite the attentions of the best Brussels doctors, he died of a fierce attack on 30 May 1640.