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8-10-2015, 02:46

Flemish Tapestries

Pictorial designs in tapestry became the preferred mode for Renaissance tastes, with early examples

Influenced by the religious work of artists such as Rogier van der Weyden (c. 1400-64), whose studio was in Brussels. Narrative designs were very popular, especially since tapestries provided an expansive

Art and Visual Culture 79

Surface on which the story could be displayed. Hunting scenes, highly sought after, often contained symbolic imagery within a gorgeous surface filled with colorful costumes. During most of the 15 th century, Flemish narrative tapestries were crowded with numerous people and animals as Gothic taste prevailed in the north. Italian Renaissance artists, such as Raphael and Bronzino, began to create cartoons, and they designed tapestries with life-sized figures in their own pictorial space, often placed within proper linear perspective. Italian prints of the 16th century provided a plethora of sources for Flemish tapestry designers, particularly in the graphics of Marcantonio Raimondi (c. 1470/82-c. 1527/34), who reproduced well-known Renaissance paintings in Rome in detailed graphic images (see Prints, page 85). The Flemish artist Bernaert van Orley (c. 1492-1542) was the best representative of the new “Roman style” in northern tapestry production, influenced by Raphael’s cartoons executed as papal commissions. Orley worked for the Habs-burgs, particularly Margaret of Austria (1480-1530), regent of the Netherlands, and her heir, Mary of Hungary (1505-1558), sister of Emperor Charles V (1500-1556). He designed both sacred and secular tapestries, including Maximilian’s Hunts (Louvre Museum, Paris) celebrating Margaret of Austria’s father, Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519). Because of the political instability of the Spanish Netherlands during the 1560s and later in the 16 th century, many Flemish weavers moved their workshops into German territory, and a few emigrated to England or France.