This is a unique and precious example of religious art from the era of Napoleon III. This exquisite work dates towards 1850-1860. It has Parisian provenance, once belonging to the estate of 'Madame M'.
During the mid to late 1800's, private chapels were in abundance in the noble homes of France. The taste during this period was one of opulence; with the abundant use of rich woods, gilding and fine textiles. This piece would have certainly resided in a wealthy home.
The elaborate needlework was most likely done by a member of the household. It is the work of an experienced person, combining a decadent amount of gilt metalwork with fine silk accents. The stitches are even and very well executed on the ivory silk background. The work would have taken an immense amount of skill and time to create. The sumptuous embroidered frame surrounds the portrait and opens up to an oval window which is edged with a gilt metallic braid. The embroidery and gouache are placed under glass.
The hand painted full length portrait is of St. Louis. Louis IX (25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270) who was King of France from 1226 until his death. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile. He was a popular monarch who went on to two crusades. He was the only French king ever to be make a saint; a king who was much loved for his kindness, fair dealings, and piety. He is Patron Saint of the Third Order of St. Francis, of France, and of French monarchy.
The gouache painting is richly colored and full of symbolism. It depicts an angel crowning Louis, who has put aside his gilded crown and scepter, taking up a crown of thorns in place of the scepter. He still wears his royal ermine coat and his suit of armor. The painting is detailed, with extreme care taken to the facial features, clothing and expression.
The outer frame still retains the ticket from a frame shop in Grenoble (on the back) The frame is late 19th century, with the very beautiful and radiant coloring of frames (mercury was mixed with the gilt) from this period.
It measures 11" x 8 3/4" in total to frame edges. The inner glass piece 8 1/2" x 6 1/2". The portrait measures 4" x 3 1/2". It survives in excellent antique condition. There is no noticeable color loss to the portrait, the needlework is in exceptional condition. The paper to the back of the frame is separated slightly at the joints but this is in accordance with age. It is an original, quality work from the outer frame to the inner painting.
This is a magnificent and unique example of a religious piece. From the gilded threads, to the sumptuously deep colors in the painting, to the frame with it's glowing patina; this framed beauty is a true treasure. It is a rare find.
European Importer of Authentic 18th and 19th Century Religious Antiques:Division of Paris Chateau
Fine Devotional Antiques: Ex Voto: Sacred Hearts: Santos Crowns: Reliquaries: Sacred Objects: Monastery Work: Religious Art