CONUNDRUM: Puzzles in the Grotesque Tapestry Series

CONUNDRUM: Puzzles in the Grotesque Tapestry Series

CHARISSA BREMER-DAVID    Book Number: 89025    Product format: Paperback

In the French royal tapestry manufactory of Beauvais in the late 1680s, the Grotesques series of tapestries were conceived and woven. Hugely popular, 50 sets of tapestries (usually composing of six hangings) were produced during the production run and, of these, only 150 pieces still survive today in both public and private collections. This stunning book explores the creation of the series and an opportunity to look at the mysterious and deliberately puzzling content as well as the complex motifs that will intellectually challenge the viewer. Four tapestries are explored in this edition: The Offering to Bacchus, The Offering to Pan, The Camel and Musicians and Dancers. Learn how a trumpeter depicted in the first tapestry echoes the antique marble sculpture, The Faun Playing the Flute which was one of the most admired works of antiquity in the 1680s and discover that the largest attendant in the second tapestry, the only one shown in full figure, is a dancing bacchante which has been likened to a model by Poussin, that of Flora from his 1631 painting, Kingdom of Flora. The commentary will also explain how the appearance of a tambourine-playing and dancing jester in the third tapestry refers to theatre, specifically the costume designs of Jean Bérain the Elder, and how the woman holding a staff and gesturing towards a leopard was borrowed from a line drawing in a 1499 book by Francesco Colonna in which a highly enigmatic Neo-platonic work about love is set in a dreamscape with mythological figures. The book includes stunning photographs of all four tapestries with close ups of features, such as a statue of Bacchus, a posing peacock or a crouching woman with her basket. These appear alongside supplementary images of art that inspired or was created at the same time as the pieces, from the sculpture by Giovanni Francesco Susini, A Leopard Attacking a Bull and Nicolas Poussin's oil on canvas piece called The Triumph of Pan from 1636, to Pieter Boel's Study of Two Macaw Parrots painting from before 1674. This is a sumptuous and informative study of four tapestries that amaze and thrill the viewer. Paperback, 9" x 10", 76pp.
Published price: £14.99
Bibliophile price: £1.50

Additional product information

ISBN 9781606064535
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