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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. 72 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 unequalled for technical perfection, but to instruct local weavers. These two important weavers were Nicholas and John Karcher or Carcher as it is sometimes spelled, names of great renown—for a weaver might be almost as well known and as highly esteemed as the artist of the cartoons in those days when artisan’s labour had not been despised by even the great Leonardo. The foremost artist of the Ferrara works was chosen from that city, Battista Dosso, but also active as designer was the Fleming, Lucas Cornelisz. In Dosso’s work is seen that exquisite and dainty touch that characterises the artists of Northern Italy in their most perfect period, before voluptuous masses and heavy scroll-like curves prevailed even in the drawing of the human figure. See larger image THE ANNUNCIATION Italian Tapestry. Fifteenth Century. Collection of Martin A. Ryerson, Esq., Chicago The House of Este had a part to play in the visit of the Emperor Charles V when he elected to be crowned with Lombardy’s Iron Crown, in 1530, at Bologna instead of in the cathedral at Monza where the relic has its home. “Crowns run after me; I do not run after them,” he said, with the arrogance of success. At this reception at Bologna we catch a glimpse of the brilliant Isabella d’Este amid all the magnificence of the occasion. It takes very little imagination to picture the effect of the public square at Bologna—the same buildings that stand to-day—the square of the Palazzo Publico and the Cathedral—to fancy these all hung with the immense woven pictures with high lights of silk and gold glowing in the sun, and through this magnificent scene the procession of mounted guards, of beautiful ladies, of church dignitaries, with Charles V as the central object of pomp, wearing as a clasp to the cope of state the great diamond found on the field of Marat after the defeat of the Duke of Burgundy. The members of the House of Este were there with their courts and their protégés, their artists and their literati, as well as with their display of riches and gaiety. The manufactory at Ferrara was now allowed to sell to the public, so great was its success, and to it is owed the first impetus given to the weaving in Italy and the production of some of the finest hangings which time has left for us to enjoy to-day. It is a sad commentary on man’s lust of novelty that the factory at Ferrara was ultimately abandoned by reason of the introduction into the country of the brilliant metalilluminated leathers of Cordova. The factory’s life was comprised within the space of the years 1534 to 1597, the years in which lived Ercole II and Alfonso II, the two dukes of the House of Este who established and continued it.

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 73 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 It was but little wonder that the great family of the Medici looked with envious eyes on any innovation or success which distinguished a family which so nearly approached in importance its own. When Ercole d’Este had fully proved the perfection of his new industry, the weaving of tapestry, one of the Medici established for himself a factory whereby he, too, might produce this form of art, not only for the furtherance of the art, but to supply his own insatiable desires for possession. The Arazzeria Medicea was the direct result of the jealousy of Cosimo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, 1537-1574. It was established in Florence with a success to be anticipated under such powerful protection, and it endured until that patronage was removed by the extinction of the family in 1737. It was to be expected that the artists employed were those of note, yet in the general result, outside of delicate grotesques, the drawing is more or less the far-away echo of greater masters whose faults are reproduced, but whose inspiration is not obtainable. After Michael Angelo, came a passion for over-delineation of over-developed muscles; after Raphael—came the debased followers of his favourite pupil, Giulio Romano, who had himself seized all there was of the carnal in Raphael’s genius. But if there is something to be desired in the composition and line of the cartoons of the Florentine factory, there is nothing lacking in the consummate skill of the weavers. See larger image ITALIAN TAPESTRY. MIDDLE OF SIXTEENTH CENTURY Cartoon by Bacchiacca. Woven by Nicholas Karcher

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