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‘Renaissance Splendor: Catherine de’ Medici’s Valois Tapestries’, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Valois Tapestries thought to have been commissioned by Catherine de’Medici are on show at The Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio until 21 January 2019. An exhibition of international significance, ‘Renaissance Splendor: Catherine de’ Medici’s Valois Tapestries‘ unveils six recently restored Valois Tapestries, on view for the first time in North America.

Elephant (detail), from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master MGP, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.825 x 4.68 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 474. Photo: Robert Palermo

Elephant (detail) from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master MGP, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.82 x 4.68 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 474. Photo: Robert Palermo

The CMA collaborated with the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence to bring six of the remarkable tapestries, thought to have been commissioned by the Queen Mother of France in the 1570s, to Cleveland. The complete set of eight hangings is displayed among paintings, drawings and art objects of the time. The exhibition explores the tapestries’ role as an artistic and political statement of Renaissance Europe.

Polish Ambassadors (detail), from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master WF, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.815 x 3.945 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 472. Photo: Robert Palermo

Polish ambassadors (detail) from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master WF, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.81 x 3.95 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 472. Photo: Robert Palermo

Woven in Brussels with wool, silk and metal-wrapped threads, the tapestries are rich in material and subject matter. Life-size, full-length portraits of the French royal family and courtiers are positioned in the foreground of each tapestry. Scenes of court pageants and celebrations called ‘magnificences’ make the Valois Tapestries the most intricate surviving visual record of the signature events of the Valois court.

Tournament (detail), from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master MGP, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.85 x 6.045 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 495. Photo: Robert Palermo

Tournament (detail) from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master MGP, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.85 x 6.04 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 495. Photo: Robert Palermo

Whale (detail), from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master MGP, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.98 x 3.96 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 493. Photo: Robert Palermo

Whale (detail) from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master MGP, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.98 x 3.96 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 493. Photo: Robert Palermo

Fontainebleau (detail), from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master WF, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.955 x 3.38 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 473. Photo: Robert Palermo

Fontainebleau (detail) from the Valois Tapestries, c. 1576. Woven under the direction of Master WF, Brussels. Wool, silk, silver and gilded silver metal-wrapped thread; 3.96 x 3.38 m. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, deposit, Florence, Arazzi n. 473. Photo: Robert Palermo

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