Wool warp and wefts
165 1/2 x 91 in. (420.4 x 231.1 cm)
Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1947 (47.101.3)
The great deeds of princes and military leaders were favorite themes in the courts of the Middle Ages. This set of tapestries, probably made for Jean, duc de Berry, originally featured nine heroes, three from classical antiquity, three from the Old Testament, and three from the Middle Ages. Hector, Alexander, and Julius Caesar comprise the pagan triad; David, Joshua, and Judas Maccabeus the Hebrew; and the Christian heroes are King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godefrey of Bouillon. Irrespective of the different times in which they lived, all are shown in medieval dress with similar weapons and hairstyles. Surrounding each figure is an architectural frame peopled with ladies, musicians, and soldiers. The similar representation of the nine conveys a continuity of heroic effort from the classical, biblical, and medieval past into the fourteenth-century present.