tapestry

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Art Under the Microscope: Threads

How exactly was the gilding of tapestries done in the 16th century? These microscopic images reveal all.  

These images show the warp and weft threads used to create a background detail in the Triumph of Bacchus tapestry recently exhibited in “Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV.” 

Viewed from a distance (like when the tapestry is hanging high up on a wall), the combo of the crimson silk with the gold threads looks like a bright copper, and here we can see all the separate colors and textures that build up that look.


Triumph of Bacchus, design overseen by Raphael, ca. 1518-19; design and cartoon by Giovanni da Udine. Brussels, workshop of Frans Geubels, ca 1560. Paris, Mobilier National, inv. GMTT 1/3.  Image © Le Mobilier National. Photo by Lawrence Perquis


Art Under the Microscope is a series that features, well, art under the microscope, as photographed by our conservators to better study and preserve our collections.