The Delights of the Four Seasons
Musée de la Toile de Jouy
The decoration of these faience objects is inspired directly by a Liberty print in madder red designed in 1785 by the genre painter Jean-Baptiste Huet (1745-1811). He was the most famous artist who created motifs for the Manufacture of Jouy-en-Josas. His charming canvases with pastoral scenes sing in praise of rural activities and pleasures. They belong to an aristocratic and bourgeois current characterized by nostalgia for the countryside, a famous example being the Hamlet in Versailles of Queen Marie-Antoinette, with idealized scenes of herders and shepherdesses elegantly dressed in the midst of flowers, birds and picturesque ruins.
As its name suggests, The Delights of the Four Seasons illustrates the changing occupations and games that symbolize every season. The dance around the May tree, to the sound of bagpipes, represents spring, while the wheat harvest is accompanied by reapers, a picnic and a little fisherman to portray summer. According to tradition, grape picking evokes autumn, while a sleigh gliding over the snow and a skating scene symbolizes winter. Everything is reminiscent of chivalry and the art of whispering sweet nothings, even a gardener cultivating flowers, a metaphor of courtship.
Made in Gien, France since 1821