The art of tapestry became extremely important during the Late Middle Ages. And in reality, they were objects immensely valued by the highest social classes until the 18th century. Much more than we can imagine.
They were a type of works that were used for very different uses. From religious to decorative and commemorative. And the topics that were discussed in them were the most varied. Although there are several iconographic cycles that were repeated. For example there were many tapestries dedicated to Charlemagne and King Arthur. But many others were also inspired by an ancient hero: the Macedonian king and conqueror Alexander the Great.
Alexander the Great Story Tapestry
A royal character who lived between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. C. and that undoubtedly performed incredible feats. But even so, that extraordinary biography seemed little, which is why his triumphs were even more exaggerated in works such as this enormous tapestry from the 15th century that is currently preserved in theDoria Pamphili Gallery in Rome.
The truth is that Alexander the Great more than a historical character, by then he had already become a true role model. A symbol of the good ruler, brave and fair. An idea that was maintained for centuries, it is enough to see that, for example, in the 17th century tapestries were still dedicated to this character commissioned bythe French monarchy, based on the drawings of one of the great Baroque painters of the time: Le Brun.
But back to this other tapestry. Here we see Alexander the Great engaged in all kinds of adventures. In a tapestry in which the life of the character is narrated to us down to the last centimeter.
Historians do not know for sure where this work could have been made, although they almost certainly believe that it came from one of the best workshops in two of the cities with the longest and best tradition for tapestries. Either Arrás, north of France, or Tournai, in the current territory ofBelgium. And some even try to refine it further and propose that the tapestry would come from the workshop of Pasquier Grenier and be commissioned for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. But the truth is that this is not confirmed, since the art of tapestries was a task involving many people, from the painter who made the inverted drawing to serve as a model to the weavers, each specialized in different elements. And that is why it is sometimes very difficult to know how and where they were made.