Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Blasphemy of Niobe from Scenes from the Story of Diana

Designer:
Probably designed by Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))
Artist:
Related to engravings by Étienne Delaune (French, Orléans 1518/19–1583 Strasbourg)
Maker:
Possibly woven in the workshop directed by Pierre Blasse the Younger (French, active 1540–60)
Maker:
Possibly woven in the workshop directed by Jacques Langlois (French, active 1540–60)
Date:
1547–59
Culture:
French, probably Paris
Medium:
Wool, silk (16-18 warps per inch, 7-8 per cm.)
Dimensions:
H. 183 x W. 115 inches (464.8 x 292.1 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Gift of the children of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, 1942
Accession Number:
42.57.2
Not on view
Inscription: QVANT VN MORTEL DES BIENS QVE DIEV LVY DONE/ESMEV D'ORGVEIL GLOIRE NE LVY VEVLT REDRE/MERVELLE N'EST SI SOVBDAIN L'ABANDONE,/ET SE MALHEVR OV MORT VIET SVPREDRE/NIOBE SORT DE TEBES POVR REPRENDRE/LE PEVPLE OFFRA[N]T A LATONA PRIERE/ET LA BLASMANT SOY ET SES FILZ PREFERE/AVX DIEVX PAR QVI SESCLAIRE TOVT LE MODE/LATONA LORS A SES ENFANS REFERE/LE IVSTE ESMOY DE SA DOVLEVR PROFONDE.

[When a mortal, filled with pride of the goods that God has given him, does not wish to return Him glory, it is no wonder if He suddenly abandons him and if misfortune or death does come and surprise him. Niobe leaves Thebes to rebuke the people praying to Latona and, blaspheming her, prefers herself and her sons to the gods by whom all the world is illuminated. Latona then conveys to her children the just emotion of her profound grief.]

(on banderoles): SIC IMMOTA MANET [Thus she remains unmoved)]; NON FRVSTRA IVPITER AMBAS [Not in vain (gave) Jupiter both]

(on cartouche): HEI MIHI QVALIS ERAM [Ah me! Such once was I!]
Commissioned by Diane de Poitiers , possibly for Château of Anet (by 1555) ; Grillo family , Genoa ; possibly Émile Peyre (before 1898) ; William C. Whitney , New York (about 1900) ; James Henry Smith , New York (1904–10; sale, American Art Association, New York, January 18–21, 1910, nos. 406 & 407); Harry Payne Whitney , New York (until 1942; sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, April 29–30, 1942, no. 136; bought in)
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