The Richly Exuberant Louis XIII Style

On 19 November 2020, by Philippe Dufour

This sale was headed by an exquisite Cabinet from the first decades of the 17th century, pre-empted for a major museum soon to open.

Paris, c. 1630. Louis XIII period cabinet in carved ebony, engraved ebony and darkened wood, 189.5 x 169 x 59 cm (74.6 x 66.5 x 23.2 in).
Result: €19,968

This imposing cabinet seems to illustrate every aspect of the Louis XIII style in terms of luxury and virtuosity—mainly through its material, carved and engraved ebony, but also with its richly historiated decoration contained within octagonal panels. As often at that time, carved scenes were inspired by engravings of Northern European masters: the composition of Susannah and the Elders echoes a drawing by engraver Christoffel Jegher, after a model by Peter Paul Rubens, while Judith and her Maid Putting Holofernes' Head into a Bag was based on various prints by Hans Burgkmair. With an excellent pedigree to boot (the Louis Passy collection in Gisors in around 1900), this cabinet was finally pre-empted at €19,968 by the Hauts-de-Seine département for the Musée du Grand Siècle, soon to open in Saint-Cloud. This will house the collection of books, drawings and paintings belonging to Pierre Rosenberg, a member of the Académie and former president of the Louvre.

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