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In Filoforme - Abstract ENG

FILO FORME anno 2 n. 3


Apollo, Debora and the Barberini Bees
Pascal François Bertrand (page 3)

The tapestries of the Barberini manufacture celebrate the figures of their founder, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, as well as the members of his family, in particular that of his uncle, Pope Urbano VIII. One scene of the series, known as “The Story of Apollo” or “The Metamorphoses of Ovid” has not, until now, received the attention it deserves. Its meaning had also been misunderstood, as it was thought to be a hidden allegory of the Poet-Pope. This representation, reserved for eruditious consumption, occurs again in a series of golden canvases, known only partially through a handful of replicas depicting the heroic acts of the prophetess Deborah (1644- 1669), whose name in Hebrew means “bee”, the heraldic emblem of the Barberini.

A Milanese Tapestry Refound
Nello Forti Grazzini (page 8)

From the antique market has re-emerged one of the oldest surviving Italian tapestries. It is the first known of its kind; a fabric woven to imitate a painted image. This particular style of tapestry was executed throughout most of the 17th- 18th centuries. Representing the Madonna and Child with the young Saint John the Baptist, it was intended for a devotional purpose; an altar frontal or perhaps a processional banner. Woven in Milan between 1515- 1520, the tapestry was composed with the aid of a cartoon, whose authorship can be narrowed down to a group of Leonardesque artists, active in Milan during the beginning of the 16th century, particularly within the circle of Bernardo Zenale. The actual tapestry was perhaps woven by the Benedetto da Milano manufacture; the same which had woven the Months of Bramantino. The precarious conditions of the object warrant its restoration. Treatment would not be able to reverse the numerous permanent damages, but consolidation, however, could help to sustain a work whose historical importance is evident and whose once great value remains easily legible from the surviving parts.

Tapestries in the Swiss Museum Alexis Forel of Morges
Patricia Lurati (page 14)

The Forel Museum of Morges, founded in 1918, holds five tapestries collected by Mr. and Mrs. Forel. The works were restored by Mrs. Forel herself, a skilled embroideress. They could be dated back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries and are attributed to the Flemish and French manufactories. These tapestries respectively illustrate an allegorical story, in which the “frail stag” is treated as a metaphor for Mankind, a verdure with giant leaves and animals, a pastoral literature scene, taken from a seventeenth century romance written by Honoré d’Urfé entitled “Astree”, a landscape with birds and a country scene.

Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence An exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (March 12-June 19, 2002)
Thomas P. Campbell (page 18)

The first major loan exhibition of tapestries in the United States in 25 years, and the first extensive survey of tapestry production between 1460 and 1560, this exhibition will highlight the great tapestry cycles of the late 15th and first half of the 16th centuries as the unsung glories of Renaissance art. Considered the art form of kings, these woven frescoes were a principal part of the ostentatious “Magnificence” expected of any powerful ruler, and courts and churches lavished vast sums on costly weavings in silk and gold thread from designs by leading artists such as Raphael, Giulio Romano, and Bronzino. The exhibition will feature 45 of the greatest tapestries of the period -almost all of them deriving from royal or papal collections- along with 20 preparatory drawings and cartoon fragments from more than 30 European and American collections. The exhibition will explore the stylistic and technical development of tapestry production in the Low Countries, France, and Italy from 1460 to 1560 and highlight the contributions that the medium made to the art, liturgy, and propaganda of the day.

Tapestries of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis (page 20)

The majority of visitors associate the Rijksmuseum with the masterpieces of 17th century Dutch painting, when actually almost half of the exhibition space is dedicated to the decorative arts. Here, one is able to admire 42 stunning works in the medium of the tapestry. The catalogue of the collection, compiled by Illie Smit and Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis, supplies an index of 120 tapestries and 60 additional woven objects like cushion, covers and vilences, as well as several essays. This catalogue will become the second segment of a larger work of three volumes, documenting the entirety of Holland’s public tapestry collections. The first was completed by Elisabeth Kalf and focused on the provinces of Zeeland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg. Hillie Smit is scheduled to complete the third and final volume which will examine the collections of the nine remaining provinces. The Rijksmuseum’s tapestry collection was formed during the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the most important aquisitions are the tapestries and decorative arts relocated to the museum in 1960 from the private collection of the German-Dutch banker Fritz Mannheimer and weavings which were bought for new galleries of decorative arts, which were inaugurated in 1962.