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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. 62 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 See larger image WILD BOAR HUNT Flemish Cartoon and Weaving, Sixteenth Century. Gallery of the Arazzi, Florence Peter van Aelst was the master chosen to execute the Raphael tapestries, and the pieces were finished in three or four years. Those who think present-day prices high, should think on the fact that Pope Leo X paid $130,000 for the execution of the tapestries, which in 1515 counted for more than now. Raphael received $1,000 each for the cartoons, almost all of which are now guarded in England. The tapestries after a varied history are resting safely in the Vatican, a wonder to the visitor. When Van Aelst had finished his magnificent work, the tapestries were sent to Rome. Those who go now to the Sistine Chapel to gaze upon Michael Angelo’s painted ceiling, and the panelled sidewalls of Botticelli and other cotemporary artists, are more than intoxicated with the feast. But fancy what the scene must have been when Pope Leo X summoned his gorgeous guard and cardinals around him in this chapel enriched also with the splendour of these unparalleled hangings. And thus it came that Italy held the first place—almost the only place—in design, and Brussels led in manufacture. In 1528 appeared a mark on Brussels’ tapestries which distinguished them from that time on. Prior to that their works, except in certain authenticated instances, are not always distinguishable from those of other looms—of which many existed in many towns. The mark alluded to is the famous one of two large B’s on either side of a shield or scutcheon. This was woven into a plain band on the border, and the penalty for its misuse was the no small one of the loss of the right hand—the death of the culprit as a weaver. This mark and its laws were intended to discourage fraud, to promote perfection and to conserve a high reputation for weavers as well as for dealers.

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 63 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 W CHAPTER VII RENAISSANCE TO RUBENS HEN the Raphael cartoons first came to Brussels the new method was a little difficult for the tapissier. His hand had been accustomed to another manner. He had, too, been allowed much liberty in his translations—if one may so call the art of reproducing a painted model on the loom. He might change at will the colour of a drapery, even the position of a figure, and, most interesting fact, he had on hand a supply of stock figures that he might use at will, making for himself suitable combination. The figures of Adam and Eve gave a certain cachet to hangings not entirely secular and these were slipped in when a space needed filling. There were also certain lovely ladies who might at one time play the rôle of attendant at a feast al fresco, at another time a character in an allegory. The weaver’s hand was a little conventional when he began to execute the Raphael cartoons, but during the three years required for their execution he lost all restriction and was ready for the freer manner. See larger image VERTUMNUS AND POMONA First half of Sixteenth Century. Royal Collection of Madrid

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