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Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel
Artist Peter Paul Rubens
Artist dates 1577 - 1640
Date made 1629-30
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 67 × 54 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Rosalind, Countess of Carlisle, 1913
Inventory number NG2968
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel
Peter Paul Rubens

Thomas Howard (1585–1646), 2nd Earl of Arundel and Surrey, was a prominent political figure and a distinguished patron and connoisseur of the arts. Rubens met him on his visit to England in 1629/30, when Arundel was 44 or 45 years old. This portrait isn’t dated, but may well have been made during this period.

Rubens painted Arundel three times, twice as a man of action, dressed in armour and looking directly at the viewer. Here, however, he has revealed a more intellectual, reflective side to Arundel’s character. He sits rather stiffly, looking away from the viewer with a focused expression. His face, free of shadow, is framed by a white collar, which contrasts strongly with his dark coat and the gloomy background. The medallion which hangs from the blue ribbon around his neck is the Lesser George, an insignia of the Order of the Garter, the highest order of chivalry.

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