Drawing, Chariot of Apollo, Ceiling Design for Count Bielinski's Cabinet, Warsaw, Poland, 1734
This is a Drawing. It is dated 1734 and we acquired it in 1911. Its medium is pen and gray ink, brush and watercolor, gouache, gold paint, black chalk on white laid paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.
The chariot of Apollo charges across the sky amidst a dazzling burst of sunlight. Allegorical figures in faux architectural niches frame the scene in this grand ceiling design. Juste Aurèle Meissonier, the Italian-born giant of the eighteenth century, produced this colorful presentation drawing as part of a commission for the cabinet of Count Bielinski, the grand marshal of Poland. Meissonier succeeded Jean Berain as designer to the French king in 1726. Consequently, he had clients among the highest international court circles, including those in Poland and Portugal.
Meissonier’s monumental ceiling composition employs a heavy-handed illusionism influenced by Piero da Cortona and the Roman Baroque tradition. Designs for the Bielinski cabinet included furniture, an ornate fireplace and painted wall panels. Completed in 1735, the work would have been executed by several teams of craftsmen specializing in various materials including wood, stone, plaster, paint and upholstery. After construction, the room was exhibited at the Tuileries in Paris before its dispatch to Warsaw, as described in the journal Mercure de France in July 1736. Today, the location of the cabinet is unknown and it believed to have been destroyed.
It is credited
Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council.
Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
31.8 x 32.1 cm (12 1/2 x 12 5/8 in.) Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16 in.) Frame: 60.3 x 44.8 cm (23 3/4 x 17 5/8 in.)
It is inscribed
Inscribed on verso: PLAFOND DE PEINTURE / Pour le Cabinet de M. le Comte de Bielenski grand Mtr. de La Couronne de Pologne.
Cite this object as
Drawing, Chariot of Apollo, Ceiling Design for Count Bielinski's Cabinet, Warsaw, Poland, 1734; Previously owned by Jean Léon Decloux (French, 1840–1929); France; pen and gray ink, brush and watercolor, gouache, gold paint, black chalk on white laid paper; 31.8 x 32.1 cm (12 1/2 x 12 5/8 in.) Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16 in.) Frame: 60.3 x 44.8 cm (23 3/4 x 17 5/8 in.); Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council; 1911-28-214