This tapestry from the mid to late 1600’s depicts the Forging of the Arms of Achilles. The figure on the right, Thetis, mother of Achilles, has commissioned armor for him to use in the Trojan War. Kneeling down with the helmet of Achilles in hand, is Hephasteus, God of fire, metal working, masonry, and blacksmiths. This piece was manufactured by Aubusson around 1670, based on the design by Issac Moillon (Painter of the King). Another tapestry like this can currently be seen in the Hospices of Beaune (Nicole de Reyniès. Sylvain Laveissière. “Isaac Moillon (1614-1673), un peintre du roi à Aubusson”. Somogy, 2005, p. 158 à 180.) A photo can be seen on the French Ministry of Culture website.
Some fragments have been slipped in which are not perfect to the area’s scene, but, were perhaps part of the rest of this tapestry which was too damaged to use. The tapestry weavers who wove the faces, hands, feet and bodies of the people in tapestries were at the top in terms of skills. This weaver was superb in the depiction of all of the people. Note the delicacy of the hands of Thetis. For those who appreciate the truly old and beautiful without requiring perfect condition will cherish this 345 year old textile. Researching further into the story behind this great scene is an exciting learning process.
CONDITION: Old restorations, segment seperations, fragments added in areas. Some fraying. Please inspect photos.
H=106, W=89 5/8
17th Century French Aubusson Tapestry – The Forging of the Arms of Achilles
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