Fragment of tapestry, Manufacture des Gobelins, royal commission after Audran for Louis XIV

18th century
Regency style
From: 78220, Viroflay, France

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    - Fragment of a tapestry belonging to a Portière des Dieux ("Saturn or Winter") after Claude III Audran, woven in basse-lisse at the Manufacture des Gobelins between 1701 and 1703, wool and silk heightened with gold. Good condition, with some wear.

    - Research has enabled us to find the tapestry to which this figure belongs (see last visual); it is a Portières des Dieux ("Saturne ou L'Hiver") woven after Claude III Audran at the Manufacture des Gobelins between 1700 and 1703. It was commissioned by Louis XIV to decorate the King's apartments in the Palace of Versailles, which explains the high quality of the weaving and the presence of precious metal threads.

    - A very fine tapestry (9 to 10 threads/cm) depicting a child with his face in profile, his body in front, holding a mask. The young boy, kneeling on the ground, wears a headdress adorned with blue stones. He appears within a network of vegetal ornaments (laurel scrolls, oak branches, beaded acanthus leaves, flowery culottes, flowers au naturel). The vigor of these motifs, their elegant lightness of form and the symmetrical composition governed by a border with numerous indentations are reminiscent of the Regency style (1st third of the 18th century).

    - The central figure features a particularly meticulous design and a wide range of colors, even if these have now lost some of their brilliance. The fabric itself is enriched with gold threads, attesting to a high level of luxury. On closer inspection, we can see that the fabric has been re-striped. The central part (the child with the mask) is a fragment that has been tucked into a deliberately designed surround and woven in afterwards.

    - This is a captivating tapestry in several respects:
    - Firstly, for the prestige of the original commission to which the fragment refers, that of a commission from the superintendent of the King's Buildings for the apartments of Louis XIV at Versailles, which explains the presence of gold/silver threads, the quality of the design, the colors and the finesse of the weaving.
    - Secondly, for the vicissitudes that this weaving has undergone; a portière was woven, had to be exhibited and for some as yet unknown reason was damaged, cut up, one or more fragments were "saved" and other hands, knowing the value of the fragment, came to weave a "made-to-measure" surround to give this fragment a second life.

    - The "Saturn or Winter" Portier belongs to an 8-piece hanging called "Portières des Dieux", representing the Four Seasons and the Four Elements personified by one of the Olympian gods: Venus, Spring - Ceres, Summer - Bacchus, Autumn - Saturn, Winter - Juno, Air - Diana, Earth - Neptune, Water - Jupiter, Fire.
    All porticos have the same decorative layout, consisting of a portico decorated with festoons of flowers, surrounded by birds, animals, zodiac signs and attributes defining the season or element, beneath which the god or goddess is seated. At the bottom, a base that occupies the width of the tapestry, supports in the middle a pedestal adorned with various accessories between two children.
    For the Saturn-Winter tapestry, the two children (our fragment corresponds to the child on the right) surround a lit tripod placed on a velvet carpet. The child on the left is holding a pair of wooden tongs to catch the marotte held by a monkey dressed in blue breeches. The other child (present on the fragment) holds a mask (a reference to night). On the consoles, on the right, a mannequin, mask, headdress and cat; on the left, a lantern, mask and feathered headdresses.

    - This hanging was commissioned by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, newly appointed Superintendent of the King's Buildings (1699-1708), from the ornamentalist and painter to the King's painter Claude III Audran (1658-1734) in 1699, the same year the Manufacture des Gobelins reopened, in order to renew the portières used in the royal houses.
    With this royal commission, Mansart instigated a new artistic policy. These tapestries, a new adaptation of the decorative genre known as Grotesques or Arabesques, were highly successful and were produced in numerous series. They are an example of Audran's style, which played a decisive role in "the emancipation of decorative art" (A. Chastel) at the end of the reign of Louis XIV.
    The compositions are by Claude III Audran, the figures (goddesses, gods, children) by Louis Boulogne and Corneille. The grotesque motifs that make up this series take up motifs brought back into fashion by Jean Bérain (complex, fantastical motifs ordered according to the symmetry of the composition), while at the same time proposing an evolution; a more naturalistic expression in the treatment of foliage, flowers and animals. According to the com


    Condition Good
    Style Regency style (Tapestry of Regency style Style)
    Period 18th century (Tapestry 18th century)
    Country of origin France
    Length (cm) 99
    Height (cm) 82,5
    Shipping Time Ready to ship in 2-3 Business Days
    Location 78220, Viroflay, France
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