Sunday, October 31, 2010
Renaissance Tapestry Exhibition
During the medieval period, churches recognized the powerful impact a Biblical scene would have on a congregation who could neither read nor write. Between that, and the show of grandeur that every European court craved, the tapestry industry thrived. Tapestries became so coveted that they were considered war prizes, and were taken by conquering armies and brought back to their country. This makes it almost impossible to trace the origin of rare tapestries, unless the artist depicted a recognizable scene, city, or siege.
Paris was the first city to open factories for the production of tapestries, most notably the Gobelins factory. During the Hundred Years Was, weavers moved north and into Belgium. My historical novel, The Tapestry Shop, opens in Arras, France, a place so famed for its tapestries that the city name, arras, is now synonymous with the word tapestry. What I’d give to own one of those ancient tapestries, but of course they are in museums now, the few that exist, and are kept under carefully regulated temperature, light, and humidity.
For those of you within driving distance of Sarasota, Florida, the John Ringling Museum of Art has an exhibition of Renaissance tapestries from a museum in Vienna. The exhibition began in October and runs through Jan. 2, 2011. Here’s the link http://www.ringling.org/Exhibitions2.aspx?id=8490 .