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A PARIS BIBLICAL TAPESTRY
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A PARIS BIBLICAL TAPESTRY

AFTER A DESIGN BY SIMON VOUET, THE LANDSCAPES BY FRANÇOIS BELLIN (D. 1661), THE ANIMALS BY PIERRE VAN BOUCLE (D. 1673), PROBABLY BY ALEXANDRE DE COMANS IN THE FAUBOURG SAINT-MARCEL OR AMIENS WORKSHOP, CIRCA 1640 - 1650

Details
A PARIS BIBLICAL TAPESTRY
After a design by Simon Vouet, the landscapes by François Bellin (d. 1661), the animals by Pierre van Boucle (d. 1673), probably by Alexandre de Comans in the faubourg Saint-Marcel or Amiens workshop, circa 1640 - 1650
Woven in wools and silks, depicting The Two Servants from the panel Abraham leading Isaac to be Sacrificed from the series The Old Testament, within a wooded landscape, the ribbon bound fruiting foliate border decorated with strapwork cartouches with grisaille intaglios flanked by putti, within a dark brown outer slip, replaced to top and bottom, areas of reweaving
13 ft. 8 in. x 8 ft. 10 in. (416 cm. x 270 cm.)
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

This tapestry belongs to a series illustrating stories from the Old Testament. The tapestries were one of the first commissions by the Royal court from Simon Vouet upon his return to France from Rome in 1627. In fact, one of the panels proudly states that these tapestries were designed for Louis XIII to decorate the Louvre. The series was conceived as a set of six panels but it appears that the artists supplied the designs over quite a long period. The first designs are stylistically related to Vouet's work of the early 1630s, while others, including this panel, are much more his style of 1636 - 1638. Only two panels, incidentally from the earlier designs, were ever supplied to the Royal court. Other sets are recorded in 17th century inventories of Cardinal Mazarin, the duc de La Meilleraye and the duc de la Vrillière. Vouet appears to have turned to the Comans workshops in the faubourg Saint-Marcel and in Amiens for the production of these tapestries.

Marc and Hierosme de Comans founded a cooperation with François de la Planche (van den Plancken) to establish a tapestry workshop in Paris in 1601. In 1604 they opened a further workshop in Amiens, where the Comans orignated from. Hierosme retired from the association in 1608 and when both Marc and François retired in 1625 and 1628 respectively, their sons Charles de Comans and Raphaël de la Planche, reconfirmed the alliance in 1629. However, the association broke up in 1633 and Charles kept the workshop in the faubourg de Saint-Marcel. Charles aligned himself with Alexandre de Comans, who took over both the workshops in Amiens and in the faubourg de Saint-Marcel on Charles' death in 1635.

The present lot forms the right side of the design that depicts two of Abraham's servants guarding a donkey and Abraham leading Isaac to his sacrifice to the left. Further panels of the main subject of Abraham leading Isaac to be sacrificed remain at the musée des Gobelins, the Tel Aviv Museum and one at the château de la Roche-Guyon.

(J. Thuillier et al, Vouet, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 1990, pp. 504 - 512)
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