WATTEAU, Jean-Antoine
(b. 1684, Valenciennes, d. 1721, Nogent-sur-Marne)

Ceres (Summer)

Oil on canvas, 142 x 116 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture who presides over Summer. The present painting originally formed part of a set of four oval paintings representing the Four Seasons. They most likely served as overdoors for the dining room of a Paris hôtel where Watteau was living from about 1715-17. The other parts of the series were either lost or destroyed, but they were engraved for the compendium of prints after Watteau, the Spring by Louis Desplaces; the Summer by Marie-Jeanne Renard Dubos; the Autumn by Etienne Fessard; and the Winter by Jean Audran.