23 August 2010

Gli Arazzi della Battaglia di Pavia

Beautiful books about tapestries are rather difficult to find; even important museums often  dedicate only some tiny photos in their general catalogues to their tapestry collections... I couldn't find any about the big collection owned by the Vatican Museums, for example.
But sometimes there are exceptions! The tapestry series of The Battle of Pavia, for example, stored in the Museo di Capodimonte (Naples), is documented in a very beautiful book.

These tapestries were woven in the 16th century in Brussel, and are amazingly detailed. But what I like most, are their colours... Their vibrant colours make them look very modern  and underline every detail of the landscape or of clothing. Look for example at this knight, and at feathers on his helmet!

The confusion of the battle is shown in all its details and give us a report of the battling conditions of the time How uncomfortable such clothes must have been in battle!....

...And they didn't even help while in the water!

The book shows a wealth of details from all the tapestries, and (for once!) seems aimed at tapestry lovers, not just written by people who appreciate "tapestry as a painting", and try to describe it as such  (tapestry lovers will certainly know what I'm talking about: tapestries talked about  just in terms of the 'surface image', as if they were paintings, and completely missing the fact that they are a different technique).
An important part of the book is dedicated to the drawings used for these tapestries (I don't know whether they were the actual cartons or some preliminary drafts); they are kept at the Louvre Museum and it's very interesting  to see them along the woven tapestries.
This is a wonderful book for  those who love ancient tapestries!

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