Seasons and Elements (Air) (set of four)

Designer: Attributed to Charles Le Brun (French, Paris 1619–1690 Paris)

Designer: Border probably designed by Jean Lemoyen le Lorrain (1637/38–1709)

Manufactory: Probably made at the Convent of Saint Joseph-de-la-Providence, Paris

Patron: Commissioned for Marquise de Montespan (1641–1707)

Date: ca. 1683

Culture: French, Paris

Medium: Canvas; silk, wool, and metal-thread embroidery in tent stitch (316 stitches per sq. inch, 49 stitches per sq. cm.)

Dimensions: L. 168 x W. 108 in. (426.7 x 274.3 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Embroidered

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1946

Accession Number: 46.43.4

Description

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.

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