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Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Name-CRT: French
Title: Hanging
Title Type: Object name
Title: Air
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1681
Creation End Date: 1685
Creation Date: ca. 1683
Object Type: Textiles
Classification Term: Textiles-Embroidered
Materials and Techniques: Silk, wool, metal thread on canvas 316 stitches per sq. inch, 49 stitches per sq. cm.
Dimensions: 14 ft. x 9 ft. (426.7 x 274.3 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 46.43.4
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1946

Reflecting the grandeur of the official court style of Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), named 'premier peintre' by Louis XIV in 1662, the impressive program of Elements and Seasons is made more personal by having the king, the marquise de Montespan, and six of their children take the roles of the central figures. The complete set, of which four hangings are in the Metropolitan Museum, may be identical to wall decorations in 'tapisserie de petit point' that decorated the king's apartment at the Ch√Ęteau de Rambouillet. Here, the monarch is shown as Jupiter, seated on an eagle and holding thunderbolts and a Medusa-headed shield. Also meant to personify Air, the figure is surrounded by winged creatures-parrots, raptors (including a hooded falcon), songbirds, and butterflies-as well as wind instruments. Commissioned by the marquise de Montespan (1641-1707), the hangings were probably embroidered at the Parisian convent of Saint-Joseph-de-la-Providence, which also executed other royal projects, including furnishings for Versailles. One of the marquise's favorite charities-she was named a director in 1681 and retired there ten years later-the convent provided vocational training needlework for orphan girls.

AMICA ID: MMA_.46.43.4
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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