Designed by Justus van Egmont (Flemish, 1601–1674); Woven in the workshop of Geraert van Strecken, 1650–77
Wool, silk, silver, and gilt-metal-wrapped thread
163 x 204 in. (414 x 518 cm)
Bequest of Elizabeth U. Coles, in memory of her son, William F. Coles, 1892 (92.1.9)
This panel depicts the moment at which Antony first sees Cleopatra, who is riding in the stern of a barge, fanned by youths dressed as cupids (as described by Plutarch). Cupid, leaning against the sail of the barge, aims an arrow at Antony, who is riding a spirited horse. The Latin inscription in the upper cartouche reads "Antony, sent to compel her, is captured by love of her." The exuberant style is typical of the tapestry designs of Justus van Egmont, who blended the dramatic figures of Rubens with a relish for billowing draperies and decorative details. Although the date of conception is unknown, sets of this design were being produced in Brussels from the early 1650s, and it evidently enjoyed considerable popularity. Several partial sets have survived, some numbering more than ten pieces.