The design for Les Portières des Dieux, first known as Nouvelles Portières des Rabesques des Dieux and comprising four panels of the Seasons, consisting of Venus as Spring, Ceres as Summer, Bacchus as Autumn and Saturn as Winter, and four panels of the Elements, consisting of Juno as Air, Diana as Earth, Neptune as Water and Jupiter as Fire, were ordered by the sûrintendant des bâtiments du Roi Jules Hardouin-Mansart from Claude Audran Le Jeune (1639 - 1684) in 1699. The figures of the various goddesses, gods and children were designed by Louis de Boullogne (1654 - 1733) and Michel II Corneille (d. 1708) while the animals are probably after Alexandre-François Desportes (1661 - 1743). Payments to the four for this commission are recorded until August 1703, when the paintings appear to have been completed. Several cartoons were delivered for each subject for both the high and the low looms. Three different border designs were prepared for the set.
Claude Audran, teacher of Watteau, was at that time also employed to decorate the chambers of the duc d'Orléans at Meudon, painting the Menagerie and the chamber of the princesse de Conti at Versailles. It is interesting to note that Audran did not appear in the Royal accounts until 1699 but at that point was charged with numerous considerable commissions. Desportes, a longtime friend of Audran, was also hired for the same commissions and specialised in animal painting.
The first tapestries of this series were completed in January 1701 in the atelier of Dominique De La Croix. The series proved to be one of the most enduring of all the Gobelins designs and was woven until 1789 with a variety of background colours and some including gold and silver thread. There are only eight offical editions noted in the records at the workshop, but there must have been additional private weavings that were not listed in the inventories at Gobelins. In 1789 an astonishing 63 panels of this series are recorded at Versailles. The crimson background of these tapestries indicate that they were probably woven between 1771 and 1789, when this background is recorded being used for this series at Gobelins.
A tapestry with similar varied framing by Jean Lefèbvre was sold anonymously, Christie's, New York, 21 October 2005, lot 213.