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Antique tapestry, Atelier Faubourg Saint-Marcel, Paris, carton after Simon Vouet – “Renaud and Armide in the Enchanted Gardens”

Antique tapestry, Atelier Faubourg Saint-Marcel, Paris, carton after Simon Vouet – “Renaud and Armide in the Enchanted Gardens”

“Renaud and Armide in the Enchanted Gardens”

Paris, circa 1640

Composition: Wool

Dimensions: 317 x 490 cm

This tapestry was made by Parisian workshops around 1640, inspired by a painting by Simon Vouet.

It illustrates the knights Charles and Ubald discovering Renaud in the arms of Armida, the two heroes under a canopy, surrounded by putti, Renaud gazing into a Mirror the face of Armida, in full view of two hidden behind trees knights in a lively perspective of a palace in the background among the landscape. The border with garlands of flowers and fruits is adorned with cartridges, supported by two angels at the top, decorated with a figure in the ancient bottom, and a putti on either side. The spandrels are decorated with trophy attributes of love.

The History of Ranaud and Armida, from the famous epic poem of Tasse’s Jerusalem Delivered (1580), chronicles the loves of young Christian knight and Eastern magician. The story was a huge success throughout the seventeenth century, at a time when the taste for literature was evolving towards a desired action. The tapestry was woven several times and in several Parisian workshops such as Faubourg Saint-Marcel, that is to say the first Gobelins, or those of the Louvre. The original result was to consist of ten pieces recounting the main events of the story of Tasso: Armide about to stab Renaud that she aslept, Armide removing Renaud in her chariot, knights and Charles Ubald the fountain of laughter, the knights Ubald and Charles discovering Renaud in the arms of Armida, Ubald showing Renaud his image in the diamond shield, Renaud leaving the enchanted island of Armida, Armida, his palace destroyed, leaving the enchanted island, Armide vowing to kill Renaud, Armide failed and leaving the battlefield, Renaud preventing her from ending her life.

Three hangings Renaud and Armida, including two gold, included in the inventory of the property of the Crown from 1663 to 1673.

Simon Vouet executed in 1632 for the Superintendent of Buildings, Henry Fourcy, the decor of the gallery of the castle of Chessy, illustrating episodes from the story of Rinaldo and Armida. The decor was a model to the cartons of the hanging.

A tapestry illustrating this episode, woven in workshops of the Faubourg Saint-Marcel, was sold by Sotheby’s London, 29 May 1998, lot 15

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