chapter  31
6 Pages

Tapestries

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

Tapestries, an art form new in the late Middle Ages, play a practical and artistic role in the countries of northern Europe. The stone walls of castles, of the town houses, of the aristocracy, and of some wealthy burghers were draped from floor to ceiling with heavy tapestries to lessen the cold and damp of winter and to enliven the dark interiors with religious, historical, and secular scenes. Bed hangings and coverings for furniture and pillows were also tapestries, as were many of the elaborate costumes worn by the royalty. In the Heroes Tapestries, the luminous glow of the architecture, with windows blackened by the night, give the onlooker the impression that he is seeing the Heroes by torchlight inside a poetic structure. The Heroes Tapestries are the secular counterparts of the famous Apocalypse cycle in Angers, designed by Jean Bondol.