Monday, September 9, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Section of the Portières des Dieux, 1740-1760

Tapestry Panel
Gobelins, 1740-1760
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The famed Portières des Dieux series, designed by Claude Audran III (1658-1734) was made by the French royal tapestry manufactory, the Gobelins. The celebrated series of woven silk and wool panels depicts the four seasons and the four elements. So popular was the series that it was rewoven numerous times between 1700 and 1789.

This panel depicts Saturn, the God of agriculture who was often employed as an allegory for winter. Saturn’s feast—Saturnalia—was celebrated during the month of December, and, in fact, many of the traditions associated with Saturnalia have been borrowed for Christmas.

Here, Saturn is shown, seated in profile. He holds his attribute, the scythe of the harvest. From beneath, two putti come forth from clouds, blowing the first snows of winter. The group is framed by foliate, fruit-bearing garlands and arabesques.

Pierre-François Cozette (1714-1801) served as the maker of this original panel for Gobelins between 1740 and 1760. Claude Audran III (1658 -1734) was the designer. The entire series also includes scenes of Diana, Neptune, Jupiter, Bacchus, Venus, Ceres and Juno, each with his or her respective attributes.

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