ALLEGORICAL DEPICTIONS OF THE FOUR SEASONS
Etchings with engraving made by Sébastien Leclerc in 1679, after tapestries by Charles Le Brun. Size (each): approx. 36 x 44 cm.
In spring we see Mars, god of war, sitting on a cloud in front of the gardens of Versailles, and Venus, goddess of love. Together they hold a wreath with representing Louis XIV on horseback. In the foreground a plow, a harrow, a shovel and other agricultural tools.
In summer we see Apollo, god of the arts, with Minerva, goddess of wisdom on their cloud in the gardens of Fontaineblaeu. In the wreath they hold, the dome of the Palais des Tuileries. In the foreground a rich harvest of wheat, pumpkins, pears, plums, melons and other fruit.
In autumn we see Bacchus the god of wine and Diana, goddess of the hunt, holding a wreath depicting a deer hunt. In the background the landscape around the Chateau Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Before them lie a harvest of grapes, pomegranates, watermelons.
In winter we see a winged Saturn, father of Jupiter and god of time, along with Hebe the goddess of youth with in her hand a cup for the drink that rejuvenates the gods. Together they hold a wreath containing one of the great ballet performances for the king. In the background the Porte de la Conférence, one of the (former) gates of Paris.
Sébastien Leclerc (1637 – 1714) was an artist from Lorraine specializing in reproduction engraving. He made fine drawings, etchings and engravings of paintings and often worked in Paris for Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), First Painter of the court of King Louis XIV. Charles Le Brun was also director of the Manufacture des Gobelins where tapestries and furniture for the royal palaces were made.