Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Other Tapestries in Paris

In addition to the Gobelins, I visited the Jean Lurcat Museum in Angers, to see some of the tapestries designed by the man often held responsible for the renaissance in modern tapestry in France and beyond. Again, photography was not allowed but some images can be seen on the website, linked above. My overall feeling was one of disappointment. Lurcat has a very distinctive style, often featuring bright, almost acidic colours and supernatural or religious imagery. Visually they are striking but overwhelm the tapestry element - they are woven so finely you have to look quite close to realise what they are. In addition to this, many of his designs, especially the enormous suite The Song of the World (Le Chant du Monde) feature large expanses of black. The hours spent by the weavers on this must have been mind-numbingly dull and it seems a waste of tapestry's potential as a medium.

So, leaving aside Lurcat, here are a selection of photographs of other tapestries seen in Paris. I would encourage anyone visiting Paris to go to the Cluny Museum, now called the National Museum of the Middle Ages, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs.
Augustus and the Sybil, early 16th Century, National Museum of the Middle Ages, Netherlands

Detail of above

Crucifixion, 16th Century, National Museum of the Middle Ages, Brussels; this is an exquisite tiny tapestry

The Art of Sword Forging - Tubalcain & Giohargus, 1st quarter of the 16th Century, National Museum of the Middle Ages, Netherlands; this tapestry was part of a wonderful exhibition about swords, which also featured a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

The Liberal Arts, c.1520, National Museum of the Middle Ages, Tournai

Detail of above

Sacred Love - Tapestry with the Arms of Guy de Baudreuil, 1515-1520, Bruges, Musee des Arts Decoratifs

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