La tapisserie flamande face à l'archéologie
Text by Matteo Campagnolo, Lorenz Baumer, Jan Blan,
Giselle Eberhard-Cotton, Guy Delmarcel and Marielle Martiniani-Reber
Tapestry has long been regarded as the epitome of refinement and luxury in terms of interior decoration. Aside from the quality of the materials and the weaving, on which the value of these works depended, the pieces to be found in the collections of the Art and History Museum of Geneva and in the Toms Pauli Foundation in Lausanne show that the baroque period did not spurn the chance to use and give fresh meaning to the great figures of Antiquity, from Alexander to Constantine.
What was known in the seventeenth century of these ancient heroes and their appearance? What message did they bear? How and why were the models followed by the Flemish tapestry weavers, combining historical accuracy and contemporary allusions, created? These are all challenging questions. Art historians specializing in the baroque period and in tapestry have taken them on with the help of the curators in the museums mentioned and archaeologists.
Previously unexamined antiquities and casts, prints, books, and medals open a window for the reader into the fascinating world of the great models of political and military virtue which the century of Louis XIV sought in the heroes of Antiquity, who had the fortune not to be embroiled in the religious strife that had plagued Europe for so long.
Lorenz Baumer is professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Geneva.
Jan Blanc is professor of History of Art of the Modern Period at the University of Geneva.
Matteo Campagnolo is a curator in the Department of Numismatics in Art and History Museum of Geneva and teaches at the University of Geneva.
Giselle Eberhard-Cotton is the Director and curator at the Toms Pauli Foundation in Lausanne.
Guy Delmarcel is emeritus professor of the History of Art at the Catholic University of Louvain and former head curator of the Tapestry and Textile Department of the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels.
Marielle Martiniani-Reber is an art historian and an expert in Byzantine textiles, as well as head curator of the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine collections at the Museums of Art and History of Geneva.