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Judith in weft and warp

15 Nov

Unknown, “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” c.1525, Flemish Gothic Tapestry, 124 x 104 in, UM Museum of Fine Arts, Missoula, Montana, US

Following the prominence of Arras tapestry in the 14th and 15th centuries, the 16th century saw the ascendence of tapestry from Flanders (Oudenaarde, Brussels, Geraardsbergen and Enghien).   In the 17th century, the intricate pattern detail and color in Flemish tapestries made them the most important examples of the art of tapestry craftmanship.

The tapestry was woven around the same time as one of the most famous tapestries: The Lady and the Unicorn (La Dame à la licorne).    This title was given to a series of six tapestries from Flanders from designs drawn in Paris in the late 15th century.    Five of the tapestries depict the five senses – taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch;  the sixth displays the words “À mon seul désir“- interpreted as love or understanding.    The style of the tapestries is mille-fleurs (thousand flowers), referring to the background made of many small flowers and plants – the same style used in this tapestry of Judith.

Sure.  Unicorns, severed heads, a thousand flowers – they all go together.

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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Glory

 

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