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detail of Tournament 02 - Valois Tapestries

detail of Tournament 02 - Valois Tapestries

Detail of Tournament, one of the Valois Tapestries, on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

None of the tapestries is formally named. This one is known as Carrousel des chevaliers bretons et irlandais à Bayonne and as Tournament. Measuring 154 by 241 inches, this work depicts a ballet de cour ("court ballet"), an elaborate, choreographed performance. In this case, it depicts a court ballet held on June 25, 1565, as part of the celebrations that occurred at the end of the 18-month progress around France by the young King Charles IX and Catherine de' Medici. In the ballet, knights representing the forces of Love and Virtue do battle. In the background, the cardinal virtues of Courage, Justice, Prudence, and Temperance ride in one chariot, while Cupid and Venus ride in another chariot surrounded by a host of putti. Depicted in the tapestry are Catherine de' Medici (in mourning), Margaret of Valois, King Henry IV, and Louise of Lorraine.

Metal-wrapped thread was used to create the appearance of bas-relief and to highlight details in clothing and other items the Medicis used to show off their wealth.

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Photo taken on 28 December 2018 (© Tim Evanson / Flickr)

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 cleveland museum of art, cleveland, ohio, valois tapestries, renaissance art, tapestry, weaving, carrousel des chevaliers bretons et irlandais à bayonne, tournament, ballet de cour

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