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The Battle with the Sagittary and the Conference at Achilles' Tent (from Scenes from the Story of the Trojan War)

Probably produced through Jean or Pasquier Grenier of Tournai

Date:
ca. 1470–90
Geography:
Made in Tournai, South Netherlands
Culture:
South Netherlandish
Medium:
Wool warp, wool wefts with a few silk wefts
Dimensions:
Overall: 172 × 156 in. (436.9 × 396.2 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1952
Accession Number:
52.69
  • Description

    This fragment is one of three in the Museum's collection that comes from two or more tapestries depicting scenes from the Trojan War. In the lower left portion of the tapestry, mounted Greek warriors are driven back to their tents by the terrifying figure of the Sagittary, a centaur (part man and part horse) whose powerful figure dominates the center of the scene and who fights on the side of the Trojans. Medieval accounts of the war introduced the idea of a truce after the fifth battle, during which Hector visited Achilles in his camp. It is this truce scene that occupies the lower right portion of the tapestry. A large banderole at the top containing quatrains in French and a small banderole at the bottom left with distichs in Latin describe the events depicted. In addition, the names of the participants in the battle, such as Achilles, are inscribed on the clothing and armor of some of the figures.

    In 1488 the English king, Henry VII, bought a set of eleven Trojan War tapestries from Jean Grenier, one of Pasquier Grenier's sons. It is likely that the Museum's hangings were also produced by the Grenier family.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: (across top; in French): ACHILLES VINT IMPETUESEMÉT / EN BATAILLANT AVEC [BATAILLE OU TAU UNG JOYANT] / QUI COBATINT MLT VERTUEUIMET [VERTUEUSEMENT] / FORT TERRIBLE NOME [HUPON LE GRANT] / LE SAGITAIRE ORRIBLE É ESPANTANT / POLIXENAR TUA EN CEST EFFORT / DIOMEDES VERTUEUX É PUISSANT / LE SAGITAIRE OCCIT ET MIST A MORT

    (across bottom, left half; in Latin): INTERVINT HUIONIENI ACHILLES / TRADIT MORTI DIOMEDES MILES
    (across bottom, right half; in Latin): SAGITTARIUS FORTITER CERTAVIT / ET LATUS HOSTES PROSRAVIT

    (on warrior in upper left): ACHILLES
    (on sleeve of man to the right of him): AESO
    (on arm of next warrior to right): ATHENOC
    (on right arm of man struck by Achilles' spear): HUPON LE GRAND
    (on helmet of man just below him): ENEAS
    (on chest of man to the right of tent): DYOMEDES
    (on arm of man behind sagittary): HECTOR
    (on head of man hidden by tent at right): NP
    (on back of horseman at lower left): THELAMOALA
    (on belt of horseman to his left): IS
    (on bridle and harness of Thelemon's horse): R H F/R
    (on bridle and harness of falling warrior's horse at left of tent scene): POMPENAR/N
    (on bottom of mantle of left figure in front of tent): ACHILLES
    (on robe of central figure in front of tent): AGAMENO
    (on thigh of figure at right in front of tent): HECTOR

  • Provenance

    Raoul Heilbronner, Paris (sold 1921); his sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris (June 22-23, 1921, no. 240); [ Demotte Inc., Paris and New York]; P. W. French & Co., New York (by 1928)]; Raimundo Ruíz Ruíz, Spain (sold 1952)

  • See also
468417

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