Belgium 500 Francs banknote 1957 King Leopold II

Belgium Banknotes 500 Francs banknote 1957 King Leopold II
Belgian banknotes 500 Francs banknote 1957 "Four Studies of the Head of a Negro" painter Peter Paul Rubens

Belgium Banknotes 500 Francs banknote 1957 King Leopold II
National Bank of Belgium - Nationale Bank van België - Banque nationale de Belgique

Obverse: Portrait of King Leopold II of Belgium and heraldic lion who serves as the background.
Reverse: "Four Studies of the Head of a Negro" by Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
L. Buisseret got inspired by a reproduction of this study which belongs to the most famous works of Rubens. The original, which has long been assigned to his apprentice Antoon van Dyck, can be admired in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. The study represents four portraits of one and the same African man. Rubens portrayed him from different angles and with different expressions, ranging from happiness to serenity. With this study the artist wanted to find out the right expression for one of his models for a large altarpiece, The Adoration of the Magi.

Belgian banknotes - Belgium paper money
1950-1959 Issue

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King Leopold II of Belgium
King Leopold II, French in full Léopold-Louis-Philippe-Marie-Victor, Dutch in full Leopold Lodewijk Filips Maria Victor (born April 9, 1835, Brussels, Belgium — died December 17, 1909, Laeken), king of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909. Keen on establishing Belgium as an imperial power, he led the first European efforts to develop the Congo River basin, making possible the formation in 1885 of the Congo Free State, annexed in 1908 as the Belgian Congo and now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although he played a significant role in the development of the modern Belgian state, he was also responsible for widespread atrocities committed under his rule against his colonial subjects.

Four Studies of the Head of a Negro by Peter Paul Rubens, is an example of a portrait painting which demonstrates the technique of oil on canvas transferred from wood, 51 x 66 cm. The portrait painting, ranked 2nd most prestigious genre by the French Académie de peinture et de sculpture, depicts the visual appearance of a human subject. While portraitists often strive for exact likeness, the viewer's recognition of the subject is of primary importance. It was common for artists to alter the image to accentuate or minimize the subject's physical, psychological or social traits. Traditionally, portrait paintings have memorialized the rich and powerful. Overtime, however, it became more common for middle-class individuals to commision portraits of their families and colleagues.