Owners of this rare set of seventeenth-century French engravings are encouraged to cut them up. Once carefully trimmed, four prints link together to form a circle, approximately 46 inches in diameter, with the final plate dropped into the center to complete the picture.
Engraved by Gérard Audran (1640-1703), these scenes from the old and new testament were designed and frescoed by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) on the cupola of the chapel at the Château de Sceaux. The house was built in 1670, not far from Paris by the French minister of finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) inside a park laid out by André Le Nôtre (1613-1700). Fifty-five year old Le Brun finished two frescos in 1674.
Seven years later, Audran engraving, printing, and published Le Brun’s circular design. The title in the Inventaire du fonds français (17e - vol. 1) reads Coupole de la Chapelle de Sceaux. Triumphe du Nouveau Testament sur l’Ancien (Triumph of the New Testament over the Old Testament or Triumph of the New Law.)
Gérard Audran (1640-1703) after Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), Set of five plates, known as Triumph of the New Testament over the Old Testament, 1681. Etching and engraving. GA 2012.01256-01260.
1. “Car. Le Brun Regis Pictor primarius, udo tectorio pinxit in Capella Castelli vulgo de Seaux, Girardus Audran aeri incidit, 1681.” Depicts angels bearing the Ark of the Covenant.
2. “Le Pere Eternel porte sur les ailes des Anges, prononeant ces paroles au baptesme de Iesus Christ, voicy mon fils bien aime &c.” Depicts God the Father on the wings of angels.
3. “Peint a fraisque dans la voute de la Chapelle du Chasteaux de Sceaux.” Depicts the adoring angels.
4. “Pater Aeternus sedens super pennas Angelorum, haec verba in Baptismate Iesu Christi proferens, Hic est Filius meus dilectus &c.” Depicts the baptism of Jesus Christ.
5. Untitled [center section was perhaps not meant to be cut apart]