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

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


The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 52 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 See larger image FLEMISH TAPESTRY, END OF FIFTEENTH CENTURY Collection of Martin A. Ryerson, Esq., Chicago. Formerly in the Spitzer Collection

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 53 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 See larger image THE HOLY FAMILY Flemish Tapestry, end of Fifteenth Century. Collection of Martin A. Ryerson, Esq., Chicago. Formerly in the Spitzer Collection The third piece from the Spitzer collection bears all those marks of exquisite beauty with which Italy was teeming in the Fifteenth Century. (Colour plate facing page 82.) Weavers from Brussels went down into Italy and worked under the direction of Italian artists who drew the designs. Andrea Mantegna was one of these. The patron of the industry was the powerful Gonzaga family. This tapestry of The Annunciation which Mr. Ryerson is so fortunate as to hang in his collection, is decorated with the arms of the Gonzaga family. The border of veined marble, the altar of mosaics and fine relief, the architecture of the outlying baptistry, the wreathed angel, all speak of Italy in that lovely moment when the Gothic had not been entirely abandoned and the Renaissance was but an opening bud. The highest work of painter and weaver—artists both—continued through thirty or forty years. Pity it is, the time had not been long enough for more remains of it to have come to us than those that scantily supply museums. After the Gothic perfection came the great change made in Flanders by the introduction of the Renaissance. It came through the excellence of the weavers. It was not the worth of the artists that brought Brussels its greatest fame, but the humbler work of its tapissiers. Their lives, their endeavours counted more in textile art than did the Flemish school of painting. No such weavers existed in all the world. They were bound together as a guild, had restrictions and regulations of their own that would shame a trades union of to-day, and in change of politics had scant consideration from new powers. But in the end they were the ones to bring fame to the Brussels workshops. In 1528 they were banded together by organisation, and from that time on their work is easily followed and identified. It was in that year that a law was made compelling weavers—and allowing weavers—to incorporate into the encompassing galloon of the tapestry the Brussels Brabant mark of two B’s with a shield between. And it was about this time and later that the celebrated family of weavers named Pannemaker came into prominence through the talent of Wilhelm de Pannemaker, he who accompanied the Emperor Charles V on his expedition to Tunis. This expedition flaunts itself in the set of tapestries now in Madrid. (Plate facing page 62.) The emperor seems, from our point of view, to have done it all with dramatic forethought. There was his special artist on the spot, Jan Vermeyen, to draw the superb cartoons, and accompanying him was Wilhelm de Pannemaker, the ablest weaver of his day, to set the loom and thrust the shuttle. Granada was the place selected for the weaving, and the finest of wool was set aside for it, besides lavish amounts of silk, and pounds of silver and gold. In three years, by the help of eighty workmen, Pannemaker completed his colossal task. Such was the master-weaver of the Sixteenth Century.

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