Lot n° 612
10000 - 12000
Brussels Tapestry, from the end of the 15th... - Lot 612 - FEE - Stanislas Machoïr
Brussels Tapestry, from the end of the 15th century, beginning of the 16th century
Technical characteristics : Wool and silk
Dimensions : Height : 240cm ; Width : 220cm
Tapestry of Brussels around 1595, with concomitant subject:
- the mythological theme on the history of the Goddess Diana and
- of the theme of hunting the Aurochs,
to be compared with the Brussels panel reproduced in "European Tapestry in the Institute of Chicago" by Koenraad Brosens, p. 118/119, Yale University Press, 2008; to be compared with the series of hangings on the hunt which came out of the workshops of Philippe van Der Cammen in Enghien (Belgium), coming from the Louis-Philippe estate (Orléans family), and preserved in the collections of the Château de Brissac.
Here we can observe, on the right, in the foreground the mythological theme representing the Goddess Diana in company of a nymph, perhaps Sylvia, inspired by the novel Aminta by Le Tasse (Italian author, 1544-1595). On the far left a noble hunter, armed with a rifle, probably the Archduke of Austria Albert of Brussels (1559-1621) accompanied by a wolfman, above left in the undergrowth of the beaters, in the center of the panel also beaters, dogs and pickers fighting against an auroch that is charging them, above, further in the perspective, espaliered gardens, Italian style, precede what seems to be an abbey and in the distance snow-capped mountains.
Diana is the daughter of Latona (Leto) and Jupiter, twin sister of Apollo, born on the island of Ortigia later called Delos. She was born a few moments before her brother. Witnessing the maternal pains, she conceived such an aversion to marriage, that she asked and obtained from her father the grace to keep a perpetual virginitý like her sister Minerva (Athena). It was for this reason that these two goddesses received from the oracle of Apollo the name of White Virgins. Jupiter himself armed her with a bow and arrows, and made her queen of the woods. He gave to her for procession sixty nymphs, called Oceanies, and twenty others called Asies, of which she required an inviolable chastity.
With this numerous and graceful procession, she indulges in hunting, her favorite occupation. All her nymphs are large and beautiful, but the goddess surpasses them all in size and beautý. Like her brother Apollo, she has different names: on earth she is known as Diana or Artemis: in heaven, Luna (the Moon) or Phebe; in the Underworld, Hecate. She also had a great number of nicknames, according to the qualities attributed to her, the regions she seemed to favor, the temples where she was honored.
When Apollo (the Sun) disappears on the horizon, Diana (the Moon) shines in the Heavens and discreetly spreads her light in the mysterious depths of the Night. These two divinities have not identical, but similar functions: alternately, they illuminate the world; hence their character of brotherhood́. Apollo is celebrated preferably by young boys; Diana, rather by choruses of girls.
Very often, these tapestries were populated with animals both noble, fantastic and even legendary. Showing thus that the fantastic fauna lived well in all the regions, even near the houses. These tapestries were suitable for telling stories of hunting, counts and legends during the evenings. In times when one confused the real and the fabulous, certain animals had a particular place in the popular imagination. Often called improperly in the literature bull hunt, the aurochs had a very particular status, it was considered as both real and fabulous. Our elders knew it, for they had seen it in our forests, it was an animal whose hunting was reserved for princes.
While a significant part of the forests of Western Europe had already been cleared for agriculture, Julius Caesar, in a chapter of the Gallic War dedicated to the description of the Germans, one of the peoples he fought during his conquest of Gaul, evokes the aurochs that he is told live in the immense Hercynian forest with elks and other wild animals that are no longer found in Roman Italy or in its first colonies.
"The size of these animals is a little smaller than that of the elephants; their color and their form make them resemble the bull. Their strength and speed are equally remarkable; nothing they see, man or beast, escapes them. They are killed by catching them in carefully arranged pits. This kind of hunting is for young people an exercise that hardens them to fatigue; those
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