Jupiter and Latona
Several scenes come one after the next within this piece of tapestry: under the cover of a forest, Jupiter seduces the nymph Latona; who had become pregnant, she endured the wrath of Juno, flying above the scene in her chariot pulled by two peacocks, and fled, pursued by the serpent Python in the form of a dragon; guided by the eagle of Jupiter, she finds refuge on the island of Delos. This is all recounted in a French poem located in the upper text box. The false pilaster of the right-hand border is decorated with emblems linked to the goddess Diana and the double delta, the monogram of Diane de Poitiers, recipient of the wall hanging that came from this piece. In fact, nine other pieces are still in existence, dispersed between France and the United States: four of them have unfortunately been lost in a fire a few years ago. Sold at the end of the 17th century to a Genovese aristocrat, the wall hanging probably embellished the first floor of Diane de Poitier’s caste in Anet.
The style of the work gives away many important hints that recall major works of the Italian and French Renaissance, notably engravings after the style of Raphael and Jules Romain as well as a composition by Primaticcio for the gilded door of Fontainebleau. This abundance, present in the other pieces of the wall hanging, corresponds as much to the spirit of a workshop that brought together several artists as it does to the personal style of Jean Cousin. It is, however, probably the latter artist, documented for the creation of other wall hangings and tapestries since l’Histoire de Saint Mammès for the Cathedral of Langres in 1543, who should take credit for its invention.
Another piece, representing the Birth of Diana and Apollo, the second part of the wall hanging, entered the collection of the National Renaissance Museum at the same time.
Dimensions: Height: 4,55 m Width: 3,50 m