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The exhibition opens with Peter Paul Rubens’ Perseus and Andromeda (Madrid, Prado), an excellent allegory of the way in which the Flemish saw the archdukes: as liberators of the country after a civil war of thirty years. On either side of the central painting there are two portraits of the Archdukes: on the left that of Otto Van Veen, on the right that of Frans Pourbus (Brussels, Schone Kunsten). Both princes are flanked by their patron saints, Albert of Leuven and Elizabeth of Hungary (paintings by Theodore Van Loon preserved in the Carmelite convent of Brussels), for whom they showed great devotion throughout their lives and whose support they expected in their affairs. They were furthermore their intercessors with God.


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