Search the Collections

Ceres Typifying Summer, from The Seasons and the Elements series
Ceres Typifying Summer, from The Seasons and the Elements series
Date:
ca. 1784
Location:
Not on display
Century:
Media:
Wool, Silk; Tapestry Weave
Dimensions:
359.9 x 281.9 cm (141 11/16 x 111 in.)
Object Type:
Country:
Continent:
Europe
Provenance:

possibly sent by Louis XVI to Prince Henry of Prussia, 1784

Accession Number:
1926.77
Acquisition Date:
1926-07-19
Credit Line:

Gift of Archer M. Huntington

Exhibition History:

Les Portieres des Dieux, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 1972
New Look to Now, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, 1989 - 1991
Gallery 9 Rotation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 1990 - 1991
European Masterworks from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Japan, 1992

Ceres sits on clouds in the center of the panel with her right arm around a sheaf of wheat. Stalks of wheat decorate her hair. Her left hand holds a lighted torch. A naked child beside her holds a sickle. Below the goddess, agricultural tools are heaped up to make a trophy. Among these, one recognizes a rake, shovel, sun hat, a basket, a scythe and flail, and more cut wheat. Two small children on the ledge, leaning on rinceaux, engage in summer activities. The child on the right winnows wheat while his companion slakes his thirst from a bottle, watched by a panting dog. A measure for grain and a sickle lie near the center. The recurrent motive of the water bottles suggests the heat of the summer. Stone vessels rest on each console at the base of the columns. A rabbit is on the left console and a cat and winnowing basket on the right. Other drinking bottles, enclosed in wicker, can be seen above the columns. These, and the crossed torches above the goddess’s head, carry out the theme of summer’s heat. The central medallion above carries the sign of Leo. The signs of Cancer and Virgo hang at the sides with attributes of summer. The artist has imaginatively adjusted the architecture for each panel. In Ceres’s portico, the columns are clearly made of the heads of wheat; in the portico of Venus they are leaves and flowers. From Anna Gray Bennett, "Five Centuries of Tapestry: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco" (San Francisco: Chronicle Books; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1976; repr. 1992): p. 246.