The Marriage at Cana

The Marriage at Cana - Huile sur toile signée

Lot n° 65
54 cm x 63.8 cm


This signed picture corresponds with a tapestry of the same subject, for which a cartoon by Poerson exists (331 x 437 cm.), that is now in the Museé Hyacinthe Rigaud, Perpignan (inv. no. 841.1.4).

A pupil of Simon Vouet in the 1630s, Poerson assisted the latter in the decoration of the Galerie des Hommes Illustres (now destroyed) in the Palais Cardinal (now Palais Royal), Paris. In the 1650s he collaborated on Eustache Le Sueur's decoration for Anne of Austria's Salle de Bain at the Louvre, Paris. One of Poersen's most important commissions was for cartoons for tapestries on the theme of the Life of the Virgin (now Strasbourg Cathedral), commissioned from him in 1652 by the Chapitre of Notre Dame, Paris. Fourteen tapestries were executed and Poerson painted eleven of the cartoons, of which four remain: The Marriage at Cana (Museé Hyacinthe Rigaud, Perpignan) is one of the set. The cartoons were of the same dimensions as the tapestries and sometimes in the same sense as the tapestry, and sometimes in the reverse sense. The present picture is in the same direction as the cartoon and in reverse to the tapestry.

Other pictures by Poerson of similar dimensions to the present lot and which also correspond to the tapestries, are known today: An Annunciation and a Nativity are in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris, and a Visitation is in a private collection, while a Dormition of the Virgin, is in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg. It is not possible to be certain whether this picture, and the others of this group, was a finished sketch for, or a ricordo made after, the cartoon, but it is likely that it was one of the 'maquettes' (sketches) that were listed in the bedroom of Michel Le Masle at his death and that would have belonged to his secretary, La Poissonnière (see B. Bréjon de Lavergnée, N. de Reyniès, and N. Sainte Fare Garnot, Charles Poerson, 1609-1667, Paris, 1997, pp. 143-4).