Chimneypiece (cheminée)

After a design by Jean Le Pautre French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 531

The designer and engraver Jean Le Pautre (1618-1682) who published his bold and sculptural decorative fantasies, is credited with the dissemination of the Louis XlV style. This prolific and versatile artist worked for the Crown and his prints were intended to spread the new style and stimulate the imagination of sculptors and decorators not only in Paris but also in the Provinces.

This monumental chimney piece with its elaborately carved hood originally stood in the Château du Chay in Chérac on the west coast of France and was most probably carved by a local master. One of the plates in Le Pautre’s series entitled Cheminées à la Romaine of circa 1663, shows the basic design for the piece (see accession number 33.84(1)). The identity of the young man in the medallion has not been established: could he be a family member or is the image merely a classicizing bust? It has been suggested that the features bear a certain resemblance to those of the young Louis XlV which could explain the flying putto bearing a crown.

Chimneypiece (cheminée), After a design by Jean Le Pautre (French, Paris 1618–1682 Paris), Limestone, French, Chérac

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