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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. 76 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 XIV, where he painted portraits of the Grand Monarch, who never wearied of seeing his own magnificence fixed on canvas. It was the hard fate of the Barberini family to lose power and wealth after the death of their powerful member, Pope Urban VIII, in 1644. Their wealth and influence were the shining mark for the arrows of envy, so it was to be expected that when the next pope, Innocent X, was elected, they were robbed of riches and driven out of the country into France. This ended for a time the work of the tapestry factory, but later the family returned and work was resumed to the extent of weaving a superb series picturing scenes especially connected with the glory of the family, and entitled History of Urban VIII. Although Italy is growing daily in power and riches under her new policy of political unity, there were dreary years of heavy expense and light income for many of her famous families, and it was during such an era that the Barberini family consented to let their tapestries pass out from the doors of the palace they were woven to decorate. In 1889, the late Charles M. Ffoulke, Esq., became the possessor of all the Barberini hangings, and added them to his famous collection. Thus through the enterprise and the fine artistic appreciation of Mr. Ffoulke, is America able to enjoy the best expression of Italian tapestry of the Seventeenth Century. The part that Venice ever played in the history of tapestry is the splendid one of consumer. In her Oriental magnificence she exhibited in palace and pageant the superb products of labour which others had executed. Without tapestries her big stone palaces would have lacked the note of soft luxury, without coloured hangings her balconies would have been but dull settings for languid ladies, and her water-parades would have missed the wondrous colour that the Venetian loves. Yet to her rich market flowed the product of Europe in such exhaustless stream that she became connoisseur-consumer only, nor felt the need of serious producing. Workshops there were, from time to time, but they were as easily abandoned as they were initiated, and they have left little either to history or to museums. Venice was, in the Sixteenth Century, not only a buyer of tapestries for her own use, but one of the largest markets for the sale of hangings to all Europe. Men and monarchs from all Christendom went there to purchase. The same may be said of Genoa, so that although these two cities had occasional unimportant looms, their position was that of middleman—vendors of the works of others. In addition to this they were repairers and had ateliers for restoring, even in those days. E. Müntz, “La Tapisserie.” FOOTNOTE: CHAPTER IX FRANCE WORKING UP TO GOBELINS FACTORY

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 77 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 IN following the great sweep of tapestry production we arrive now in France, there to stay until the Revolution. The early beginnings were there, briefly rivalling Arras, but Arras, as we have seen, caught up the industry with greater zeal and became the ever-famous leader of the Fifteenth Century, ceding to Brussels in the Sixteenth Century, whence the high point of perfection was carried to Paris and caused the establishment of the Gobelins. The English development under James I, we defer for a later considering. Francis I stands, an over-dressed, ever ambitious figure, at the beginning of things modern in French art. He still smacks of the Middle Ages in many a custom, many a habit of thought; his men clank in armour, in his châteaux lurk the suggestion of the fortress, and his common people are sunk in a dark and hopeless oppression. Yet he himself darts about Europe with a springing gait and an elegant manner, the type of the strong aristocrat dispensing alike arts of war and arts of the Renaissance. Was it his visits, bellicose though they were, to Italy and Spain, that turned his observant eye to the luxury of woven story and made him desire that France should produce the same? The Sforza Castle at Milan had walls enough of tapestry, the pageants of Leonardo da Vinci, organised at royal command of the lovely Beatrice d’Este, displayed the wealth of woven beauty over which Francis had time to deliberate in those bad hours after the battle at Milan’s noted neighbour, Pavia. See larger image THE FINDING OF MOSES Gobelins, Seventeenth Century. Cartoon after Poussin. The Louvre Museum

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