Laurent de la Hyre* (1606-1656)
Sold by Order of the University Trustees of the WILLIAM ROCKHILL NELSON TRUST, Kansas City, Missouri
Laurent de la Hyre* (1606-1656)

Laurent de la Hyre* (1606-1656)

An Allegory of Public Trust

inscribed 'BASIS FIRMA FIDES'--oil on canvas
33 x 40in. (83.8 x 101.6cm.)
with Jacques Seligman and Co., New York.
Mrs. Germain Seligman, New York.
J. Richardson ed., The Collection of Germain Seligman. Paintings, Drawings and Works of Art, 1979, no. 44, illustrated.
P. Rosenberg and J. Thullier, in the catalogue of the exhibition, Laurent de la Hyre 1606-1656. L'Homme et l'oeuvre, Grenoble, Musée de Grenoble, Musée de Rennes, and Bordeaux, Musée de Bordeaux, 1989-1990, p. 321, no. 303, illustrated.
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, French Painting 1100-1900, Oct.-Dec., 1951, no. 63, illustrated.
New York, J. Seligman & Co., French 17th Century Paintings and Drawings, Nov.-Dec., 1953, no. 6, illustrated.
Birmingham, Alabama, Museum of Art, The Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Sept.-Oct., 1954, p. 13.

Lot Essay

Jennifer Montagu (her opinion recorded in the Seligman catalogue, 1979, under no. 44) first observed that the two personifications in this picture correspond to descriptions in Cesare Ripa's Iconologia (Padua, 1611, pp. 165 and 481, respectively) of Fidelity, who carries a seal and a key, and Security, the seated figure holding a lance. Fidelity leans on a pedestal which is inscribed on the base Basis Firma Fides. As Rosenberg and Thullier observed (op. cit.), the combination of figures and setting seems to allude to Public Trust, the basis of the State, since only confidence in government and its institutions can assure trust and a sense of security. Civil war and the disorder created by the Fronde, the insubordination of Parliament and the perfidy of the powerful in seventeenth century France offered ample cause for reflection on these themes.

A preparatory drawing for this design in red chalk and wash from the collection of the Marquis of Chennevières is now in a private collection in France and was paired with another small sketch depicting an allegory of Concord (ibid., pp. 320, no. 302, illustrated p. 321).