Boreas and Orithyia from a set of scenes from Ovid's Metamorphoses

Designer René Antoine Houasse French
Manufactory Beauvais

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 551

Maidens gathering flowers are plunged into disarray as, drapery billowing, winged Boreas, god of the North Wind, wraps Orithyia, a mortal princess of Athens, in his burly arms. Frustrated by her father’s refusal to approve his marriage request, Boreas carries her off regardless, in a sharp diagonal thrust out of the picture plane, towards his home in Thrace.

This tapestry was made as part of a popular series, eventually numbering eight or nine episodes, illustrating scenes from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a lengthy, magical poem loosely narrating a Classical history of the world.

Boreas and Orithyia from a set of scenes from Ovid's Metamorphoses, René Antoine Houasse (French, Paris 1645–1710 Paris), Wool, silk, metal thread (19-22 warps per inch, 7-9 per cm.), French, Beauvais

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