A Dutch Delft tapestry depicting Orpheus
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- Circa 1620-1640
- Wool, Silk
Hartkamp-Jonxis, E. and Smit, H., 'European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum', Zwolle/ Amsterdam, 2004
Collection J. Ritman, ca. 1987-2018
This tapestry of wool and silk, with wool weft, stems from Delft in the Northern Netherlands and is manufactured between 1620 and 1640.
During the Golden Age, Delft was not only the centre of the production of ceramics and paintings, but also, less known today, of beautifully executed tapestries. The most famous tapestry-maker is François Spierincx or Spiering (Antwerp, ca. 1550 – Delft, 27 February 1630) who was one of the many tapestry-dealers or manufactureres who fled Antwerp around 1580-1600 to settle in Delft to start a famous factory of tapesties. He wove tapestries after the designs of painters such as Karel van Mander and Hendrick Vroom. In the Prinsenhof a tapestry by his hand is on display, depicting Diana, the goddess of the hunt.
Another well-known maker is Maximiliaan van der Gucht (Delft, 1603-1689), of whom the Rijksmuseum has several tapestries in its collection. Most of these depict various hunting scenes, however, on one of them the personification of Flora is shown. Flora is placed in a central cartouche and is surrounded by a pattern of scattered flowers on a dark blue ground. This composition is very similar to the present tapestry, which shows Orpheus placed in a similar cartouche surrounded by a pattern of fruit, flowers and birds on a dark blue ground. Possibly the present tapestry is from the workshop of circle of Van der Gucht.
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