NYT: Tapestry in the Baroque is “stupefying” and “awesome”

In today’s New York Times, Holland Cotter lauded “Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor,” a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cotter called the exhibition “awesome in its exacting detail” and “a demonstration of beauty of a very particular and surprisingly personal kind.” The epic tapestries, she says, are “a form of art you can care about in some personal way.”

Thomas P. Campbell, who curated the show at the Met, also edited the catalog raisonne, Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor, recently released by Yale University Press. In her review, Cotter calls the exhibition catalog “seven pounds of pure information.”

Tapestry in the Baroque: New Aspects of Production and Patronage: Thomas P. Campbell and Elizabeth A.H. ClelandConceived as a sequel to the critically acclaimed Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002), this lavishly illustrated volume is the first comprehensive survey of 17th-century European tapestry available in English. From the Middle Ages until the late 18th century, European courts expended vast sums on tapestries, which were made with precious materials after designs by the leading artists of the day. Yet, this spectacular medium is still often presented as a decorative art of lesser importance. Tapestry in the Baroque challenges this notion, demonstrating that tapestry remained among the most prestigious figurative mediums throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries, prized by the rich for its artistry and as a propaganda tool.

The book features forty-five of the finest surviving examples from collections in more than fifteen countries, as well as a number of related designs and oil sketches. Through these it examines the stylistic developments of tapestry between 1590 and 1720, when such masters as Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens, Simon Vouet, Charles Le Brun, Pietro da Cortona, and Giovanni Romanelli responded to the challenges and opportunities of the medium in the context of contemporary artistic developments.

Read the full New York Times Review.

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