Louis XIV as Jupiter personifies Air, seated atop an eagle, holding a bolt of lightning and a shield, and surrounded by birds, butterflies, horns, and other wind instruments. The elaborate design, attributed to Charles Le Brun, is executed in tent stitch with an intricate background of silver and silver-gilt threads couched in herringbone and spiral patterns. The work comes from a set of eight hangings (four of which are in the Museum's collection), probably made for the Marquise de Montespan, depicting the Elements and Seasons with either Louis XIV, his mistress the marquise, or one of their children as the central character. It was probably embroidered at the convent of Saint-Joseph-de-la-Providence, Paris.
Commissioned for Marquise de Montespan ; possibly Comte de Toulouse , Château de Rambouillet ; Louis Philippe, King of France , Palais Royal, Paris (until 1852) ; [ King Louis-Philippe sale, Domaine de Monceaux , January 28, 1852, no. 9 ] ; possibly Comte Sée (until 1887; Comte Sée sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris May 23, 1887, nos. 8–11; sold to B. Martin); Bradley Martin ; Countess of Craven (Cornelia Martin) (until 1922; her sale, Christie's, London, April 25, 1922, nos. 2–5; sold to Cubit); Cubit (from 1922) ; [ French and Co., New York , 1928 ]
Artist: Possibly after a design by Charles Le Brun (French, Paris 1619–1690 Paris)Date: ca. 1683Medium: Canvas; silk, wool, and metal-thread embroidery in tent stitch (316 stitches per sq. inch, 49 per sq. cm.)Accession: 46.43.2On view in:Gallery 531