Experiencing Renaissance Splendor

Tapestry depicted a decorated elephant on a pedestal, surrounded by many unrecognizable creatures, being viewed by the Queen and two men.
Mascarade à l’éléphant (Elephant). Brusselstapestry, unidentified atelier, c. 1575.
Wool, silk, gold, and silver, 387 χ 670 cm. Photo: Scala/Art Resource from JSTOR

Cleveland Public Library is an excellent resource for those who enjoy keeping up with all that is happening in the wonderful galleries of Cleveland Museum of Art. Take advantage of books in the Fine Arts collection to learn more about all things related to the exhibit Renaissance Splendor: Catherine de’ Medici’s Valois Tapestries, November 18, 2018, to January 21, 2019. Our prestigious museum partners with the Uffizi to bring this woven treasure to our city. Tapestry expert and exhibition co-curator Elizabeth Cleland will be on hand at the museum to speak about the recent restoration process of this work. She writes of the Valois Tapestries:

“The eight sixteenth-century tapestries representing Catherine de Medici and her family observing courtly festivities, collectively known as The Valois Tapestries, are amongst the most important Renaissance tapestries surviving today. Probably springing from the imagination of the celebrated court artist at Fontainebleau, Antoine Caron, the tapestries were certainly created in Brussels, the most admired weaving center in the sixteenth century. Their designs enjoy a cleverly playful spatial complexity, uniting distant panoramas with figures so close to the picture plane, and so carefully observed, that they seem to inhabit the actual rather than the woven realm. In these tapestries, the subtle twist of a head or sight-line of a glance, balances the bombast of spectacle viewed from afar. In their subject matter, The Valois Tapestries capture the pageantry and excess of the French court; amongst the protagonists depicted is a veritable portrait gallery of the royal family of France. Their monumental scale (each piece over 14 square meters) epitomizes this monumental art form at its most audacious. Woven only once, this is the unique edition of this extraordinary series.” Elizabeth Cleland, Associate Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Tapestries and their place in culture and government have long been a part of the collection of our prestigious art museum. Cleveland Public Library holds many volumes on this subject including the following recent titles that are on our shelves or on order. Much also can be found online using the library’s database resources Read more!.

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For more information, contact Cleveland Public Library Fine Arts at 216-623-2848 or email finearts@cpl.org.