Date: After 1741
Materials and technics: Wool and silk
Dimensions: H. 363 x w. 616 cm
Inscriptions: "BOUCHE" (on a step of the palace)
Inventory number: OTUCK19
Acquisition details: Edward Tuck and Julia Stell donation, 1921
This piece is part of the Tapestry of the Story of Psyche.
Under the direction of the goldsmith Nicolas Besnier (?-1754) and the artistic supervision of the painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755), the flourishing royal tapestry workshop in Beauvais employed the greatest artists of the time, such as Oudry himself and above all François Boucher (1703-1770), who created the models for six tapestries. The poised grace of his mythological subjects enhances their decorative character and breaks away from the great historical paintings of the previous century.
Apart from Boucher - for the 18th century alone - the myth of Psyche, taken from the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, also known as the Golden Ass, inspired the painter Charles Natoire (1700-1777) in his decorative painting for the Princess of Soubise in Paris and two tapestries in Brussels. The five Beauvais pieces came off the looms in 1741 and 1742, but despite their charm, each piece was only woven again six to ten times. Complete sets were produced on several occasions, for a commission in Marseille in 1742, the Ambassador of Spain in 1744, the King of Sweden in 1745, the Infant Duke of Parma in 1748, Louis XV in 1758 and the King of Prussia in 1764.
The copy at the Petit Palais is made up of two tapestries joined together. We do not know when it was made. It would appear to be before it was bought by the American collector Edward Tuck from the ninth Duke of Marlborough, who had bought it in Rome in the late 19th century.
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