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The Tapestry Book, by Helen... - Yesterday Image

The Tapestry Book, by Helen... - Yesterday Image

The

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. http://www.justdogstrollers.com/26151-h/26151-h/26151-h.htm 102 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 noble courtiers. The Duc d’Antin favoured these and they were reproduced until 1745. It is probable that the Bible fell into neglect in those days, too heavy a volume for pointed, perfumed fingers accustomed to no books at all. Bossuet, Voltaire, were they not obliged to set to the sonorous music of their voices the reforming and satirical attacks on manners and morals of the aristocrats at a time when books lay all unread? But at the Gobelins ateliers the Bible, wiped clean of dust, was much consulted for inspiration in cartoons. Charles Coypel dipped into the Old Testament, and Jouvenet into the New, with the result of several suites of tapestries of great elegance—all of which might much better have been painted on canvas and framed. Charles Coypel, the talented member of a talented family of painters, also made popular the heroine Armide, who seemed almost to come of the Bible, since Tasso had set her in his Christian Jerusalem Delivered. The seductive palace and entrancing gardens where Renaud was kept a prisoner, gave opportunity for fine drawing in this set. See larger image HUNTS OF LOUIS XV Gobelins, G. Audran after Cartoon by Oudry

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. http://www.justdogstrollers.com/26151-h/26151-h/26151-h.htm 103 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 See larger image ESTHER AND AHASUERUS SERIES Gobelins, about 1730. Cartoon by J. F. de Troy; G. Audran, weaver The Iliad of Homer came in for its share of consideration at the hands of Antoine and Charles Coypel, who made of it a set of five scenes. It was Romanelli, the Italian, who painted a similar set, a hundred years before, for Cardinal Barberini, which set came to America in the Ffoulke collection. After the death, in 1730, of the Duke d’Antin, that interesting son of Madame de Montespan, several directors had the management of the Gobelins in hand, the Count of Vignory and the Count of Angivillier being the most important prior to the Revolution. These were men who held the purse-strings of the state, and could thereby foster or crush a state institution, but the direction of the Gobelins itself, as a factory, was in the hands of architects, beginning with the able De Cotte. As the factory had many ateliers, these were each directed by painters, among whom appear such interesting men of talent as Oudry, Boucher, Hallé. Although d’Antin was dead when it commenced, he is accredited with having inspired and ordered the important hanging known as the History of Esther. (Plate facing page 131.) The first piece, from cartoons by Jean François de Troy, was sent to the weavers in 1737, and the last piece, which was painted in Rome, was finished in 1742. This set shows as ably as any can, the magnificent style of production of the period. It had from the beginning an immense popularity and was copied many times. Even now it is a favourite subject for those whose perverted taste leads them into the dubious art of copying tapestry in paints on cloth. The serious accusation against this set, which in composition seems much like the tableaux in grand opera, is that it invades the art of painting. And that is the fault of woven art at that period. The decline in tapestry in Paris began when both weavers and painters struggled for the same results, the weavers quite forgetting the strength and beauty that were peculiar to their art alone. This fault cannot be laid to the weavers only, who numbered such men as Neilson the able Scot, and Cozette, who, with wondrous touch, wove the set of Don Quixote; nor were the artists at fault, for they included such men as Audran and Boucher. No, it was

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