Interior scene

Netherlandish, probably Brussels

Not on view

In an intriguing conceit, a portrait, as if painted on a framed panel, is displayed within this woven scene, actually represented in the silks and woolen threads of tapestry.

Despite its considerable size, this is a fragment cut from an even larger narrative tapestry of monumental scale. As such, the subject matter remains frustratingly opaque. Given the rich interior and courtly, contemporary fashions worn by the protagonists, past scholars have been tempted to identify this as a record of an actual historical event. It has been suggested, for example, as recording Margaret of Austria showing a portrait of her fiancé, Philibert II, Duke of Savoy, to her father, Emperor Maximilian I, before their 1501 marriage. Given the sixteenth-century convention to portray the protagonists of ancient, classical and Biblical histories- all popular in tapestry- in embellished versions of contemporary dress, however, this could more likely be a scene from such a fictive, and as yet unidentified, history.

Interior scene, Wool, silk (15-16 warps per inch, 6-7 per cm.), Netherlandish, probably Brussels

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