Peter Paul Rubens painting of Veronica Spinola Serra in an imposing black robe with a parrot seated on the back of a chair.

Portrait of Veronica Spinola Serra

Peter Paul Rubens

H 138.5cm W 225.5cm
around 1605/1606


Monumental, like a ruler, depicted full figure in rich apparel, the woman in the portrait sits enthroned before us. Veronica Spinola Serra (1577–1617), according to the recently proposed identification, was a Genoese aristocrat. The painting was probably commissioned by her husband, Geronimo Serra. Her married status is likely indicated by the carnation in Veronica’s hair – a symbol of fidelity. The parrot perched on the back of her chair represents luxury and was understood at this time as a symbol of the “sweet captivity” of love.

Dates and facts