Helena Fourment

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Helena Fourment, c. 1630, by Jan Boeckhorst
Helena Fourment and the Count of Brouchoven.

Helena Fourment or Hélène Fourment (11 April 1614 – 15 July 1673) was the second wife of Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. She was the subject of a few portraits by Rubens, and also modeled for other religious and mythological paintings.


Hélène Fourment was the daughter and youngest child of Daniël Fourment, an Antwerp silk merchant, and Clara Stappaerts. They had four sons and seven daughters. Helena Fourment was buried together with her husband, children and parents in the Saint James' church, Antwerp. Most of the daughters married into important families.

  • Daniel I Fourment , marr. Clara Stappaerts
    • Daniel II Fourment, Lord of Wijtvliet; marr. Clara Brant, sister of Isabella Brant, (1591-1626).
    • Elisabeth Fourment, died 1667: marr. 23 october 1627 to Nicolas Pycqueri, died 1661: almoner of Antwerp.[1]
    • Joanna Fourment: marr. Balthasar Nicolaas de Groote.
    • Clara Fourment, (1593-1643): marr. Peter van Hecke (1591–1645), tapestry dealer .
    • Susanna Fourment, (1599-1628), marr. Arnold Lunden. who were both also painted by Rubens.[2]


Hélène Fourment married Rubens on 6 December 1630, when she was 16 years old and he was aged 53. His first wife, Isabella Brant, had died in 1626. Hélène's brother Daniël Fourment the younger was married to Clara Brant, the sister of Isabella. Daniël Fourment the elder was an art lover and possessed works by Rubens and Jacob Jordaens, and works by Italian masters; he also commissioned from Rubens a series of tapestries depicting the life of Achilles.[3]

  • Peter Paul Rubens, marr. 2nd to Hélène Fourment:

Second marriage[edit]

After the death of Rubens, Helena started a relationship with Jan-Baptist de Brouchoven, count of Bergeyck assessor and alderman of Antwerp, who later became Count of Bergeyk.[4] On 9 October 1644 their son Jan van Brouchoven, the later second Count of Bergeyk and one of the most important politicians in the Southern Netherlands of his time, was born, and Helena and Jan-Baptist married in 1645. They had five further children together.

Hélène Fourment was said to be very beautiful, amongst others by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria, then Governor of the Netherlands, stating that she was "undoubtedly the most beautiful one may see here",[5] and by the poet Gaspar Gevartius, a friend of Rubens, who praised "Helen of Antwerp, who far surpasses Helen of Troy".[6]


Helena Fourment[edit]


  • Helena Fourment in wedding dress, Munich, Alte Pinakothek, 1630-1631; a studio copy of this work is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum
  • Pörtrait of Helena Fourment with a glove", Munich, Alte Pinakothek (same as above?)
  • Helena Fourment with her eldest son, Frans, 1635, Munich, Alte Pinakothek
  • Rubens and Helena Fourment walking in their garden, Munich
  • Helena Fourment with her children Clara, Johanna, and Frans, 1636-1637, Louvre
  • Helena Fourment and Frans Rubens, Louvre
  • Rubens, his wife Helena Fourment, and their son Peter Paul, c. 1639, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Portrait of Helena Fourment(?) a studio work in the collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels
  • Portrait of Helena Fourment(?) a 17th-century work from Antwerp, now in the Rubenshuis


Siblings: Clara van Hecke née Fourment, and Susanna Lunden née Fourment[edit]


  1. ^ Notice des oeuvres d'art de l'eglise paroissaile ... de St. Jacques a ...
  2. ^ Fahy, Everett (1973). The Wrightsman Collection. 5. Paintings, drawings. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 196. ISBN 9780870990120. 
  3. ^ Campbell, Thomas Patrick (2010). Tapestry in the Baroque. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 28. ISBN 9780300155143. 
  4. ^ Knackfuss, H. (1904). Rubens. p. 158. 
  5. ^ Liedtke, Walter A. Flemish paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 177. ISBN 9780870993565. 
  6. ^ Néret, Gilles (2004). "The Most Beautiful Woman in Antwerp". Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640. Taschen. ISBN 9783822828854. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]