In the last installment of our ongoing series on the Life and Times of Marie de’ Medici, Marie successfully snagged a man when angels brought her portrait to Henry IV of France. This time, we see her joyful wedding to her uncle, because Henry was too busy to attend.
Much like the deep relationships formed via X-Box Live today, the couple didn’t have a lot of time or opportunity to spend with each other in person. Unfortunately, the Skype video-chat wedding had not been invented yet, so when Henry couldn’t fit his wedding into his busy schedule, her uncle had to take his place as proxy groom. To be fair, he was probably about the same age as Henry.
I do wonder at the fact Marie seems to be taller than everyone in the room. Is she standing on a box under her voluminous dress? Is she part Amazonian? Is it her shared genetics with the Olympian gods?
In an excellent example of classical self-insert fan fiction, Rubens himself is pictured in the crowd holding a cross.
I assume the cross is meant to ward off all of the pagan gods that seem to keep turning up in Marie’s life, from her birth to her education to finding her a man.
Unfortunately, the cross doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job.
Hymenaios, the god of marriage, hangs out holding the train of her dress and a torch. His face has just a hint of mischief, suggesting he is considering lighting the dress on fire. Also, why on earth is the god of marriage like eight years old? Also also, “Hymenaios” would be a great name to bribe the hospital staff to put on the birth certificate for the newborn of someone you don’t like.
Anyway, the backdrop for this romantic scene for the ages is this statue.
I suppose that God the Father weeping over the broken form of Jesus represents one form of “eternal love and passion,” but it’s not the one I imagine the typical Bridezilla would choose as the central artistic representation of Her Special Day. But then, when it’s your uncle putting a ring on it because your man is too busy to turn up, maybe you want some different symbolism.