Karel van Mander (Netherlandish, 15481606); workshop of Frans Spiering, Delft
Wool and silk; 11 ft. 5 in. x 13 ft. (3.48 x 3.96 m)
Purchase, Walter and Leonore Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation Fund, 2006 (2006.36)
In Amadis of Gaul, a chivalric romance popular in European court circles in the late sixteenth century, the knight Amadis falls in love with Oriane, daughter of the king of England. When Oriane and her attendant, the Damsel of Denmark, are kidnapped by the king's enemy Arcalaus, Amadis rescues her. In the center of the scene depicted here, Amadis defeats each of Arcalaus' soldiers before finally confronting and killing their leader himself. In the foreground, Amadis and Oriane are reunited.
Woven from a design by Karel van Mander the Elder, this tapestry from a set with scenes from Amadis of Gaul is a rare example of late sixteenth-century Dutch production. It was made in the Delft workshop of the merchant-weaver Frans Spiering (ca. 15501620), who had left Antwerp because of the religious turmoil there. The Spiering enterprise enjoyed great success between 1590 and 1620, providing high-quality tapestries to the Protestant courts of northern Europe who were no longer able to buy them from Brussels. The high silk content of Spiering's tapestries renders them especially vulnerable to light damage. This one is remarkable for the intensity and richness of its color.