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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. 58 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 field of decorative design as well. Many painters apprenticed themselves to goldsmiths and silversmiths to become yet more cunning in the art of minute design, and the guilds of Florence held the names best known in the fine arts. Tapestry weaving seems a natural expression in the North, the impulsive supplying of a local need. Possibly Italy felt no such need throughout the Middle Ages. However that may be, when her artists composed designs for woven pictures there were no permanent artisans at home of sufficient skill to weave them. But up in the North, craftsmen were able to produce work of such brilliant and perfect execution that the great artists of Italy were inspired to draw cartoons. And so it came, that to make sure of having their drawings translated into wool and silk with proper artistic feeling, the cartoons of Raphael were bundled off by trusty carriers to the ateliers of Flanders. Thus Italy got her tapestries of the Renaissance, and thus Flanders acquired by inoculation the rich art of the Renaissance. The direct cause of the change in Flemish style of tapestries was in this way brought about by the Renaissance of Italy. New rules of drawing were dominating. Changes were slower when travelling was difficult, and the average of literacy was low; but gradually there came creeping up to Brussels cartoon after cartoon in the new method, for her skilled workmen to transpose into wool and silk and metal, “thread of Arras,” and “gold and silver of Cyprus.” Italy had the artists, Brussels had the craftsmen—what happier combination could be made than the union of these two? Thus was the great change brought about in tapestries, and this union is the great fact to be borne in mind about the difference between the Gothic tapestries and those which so quickly succeeded them. From now on the old method is abandoned, not only in Brussels, but everywhere that the high-warp looms are set up. The “art nouveau” of that day influenced every brush and pencil. The great crowding of serried hosts on a single field disappeared, and fewer but perfect figures played their parts on the woven surface. Wherever architectural details, such as porticoes or columns, were introduced, these dropped the old designs of “pointed” style or battlements, and took on the classic or the high Renaissance that ornaments the façade of Pavia’s Certosa. One by one the wildwood flowers receded before the advance of civilisation, very much as those in the veritable land are wont to do, and their place was taken by a verdure as rich as the South could produce, with heavy foliage and massive blossoms.

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 59 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 See larger image MELEAGER AND ATALANTA Flemish design, second half of Seventeenth Century. Woven in Paris workshops by Charles de Comans

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