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The Drowning of Britomartis from Scenes from the Story of Diana

Probably designed by Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))

Artist:
Related to engravings by Étienne Delaune (French, Orléans 1518/19–1583 Strasbourg)
Maker:
Possibly woven in the workshop directed by Pierre Blasse the Younger (French, active 1540–60)
Maker:
Possibly woven in the workshop directed by Jacques Langlois (French, active 1540–60)
Date:
1547–59
Culture:
French, probably Paris
Medium:
Wool, silk (16-18 warps per inch, 7-8 per cm.)
Dimensions:
H. 183 x W. 114 inches (464.8 x 289.6 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Gift of the children of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, 1942
Accession Number:
42.57.1
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: BRITOMARTE PAR MINOS POVRSVIVIE/QVI PAR LES BOYS A FORCE LA VEVT PREDRE/AIMA TROP MIEVX EN MER FINIR LA VIE/QV'A SO VOVLOIR OVTRAVGEVX CODESCEDRE/LORS POR SA MORT, VOVLAT GLOIRE LVY REDRE/PHOEBE LES RETZ ET, FILEZ INVENTA/DONT AV LIEV SAINT LE CORPS ON RAPORTA/ET PVIS LES GRECS DICTYNNA, LONT NOMEE/O SAINT MORT, QVI AV MODE APPORTA/PAR TEL MALHEVR CHOSE TANT ESTIMEE.

    [Britomartis, pursued by Minos, who wished to take her by force in the woods, greatly preferred to end her life in the sea rather than to submit to his outrageous will. Accordingly, wishing to give her fame for her death, Phoebe [Diana] invented fishnets and snares, with which the body was brought to a holy place, and since the Greeks have called her Dictynna [fishnet]. O holy death, that gave such a valuable thing to the world by means of such a misfortune!]

    (on banderoles): SIC IMMOTA MANET [Thus she remains unmoved)]; NON FRVSTRA IVPITER AMBAS [Not in vain (gave) Jupiter both]

    (on cartouche): HOC TVA MORS VALVIT [Thy death produced this]

  • Provenance

    Commissioned by Diane de Poitiers , possibly for Château of Anet (by 1555) ; Grillo family , Genoa ; possibly Émile Peyre (before 1898) ; William C. Whitney , New York (about 1900) ; James Henry Smith , New York (1904–10; sale, American Art Association, New York, January 18–21, 1910, nos. 406 & 407); Harry Payne Whitney , New York (until 1942; sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, April 29–30, 1942, no. 135; bought in)

  • See also
199069:4

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