The Cinquantenaire Tapestries.
De Meûter, Ingrid
History and Archaeology
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The Southern Netherlands, corresponding to the actual Belgium, were from the late Middle Ages until the end of the ‘Ancien Régime’, one of the mainlands of tapestry production. As almost all of them were destined to export, no one belonged to the kingdom of Belgium at its foundation in 1830: the collections of the former rulers, comprising many hundreds of items, had always been preserved in Madrid and in Vienna, where they still form today the prestige of their national collections. The first tapestry has been acquired in 1844 for the new Musée d’armes anciennes, d’armures , d’ojets d’art et de numismatique., the nucleus of the actual Royal Museums of Art and History, located in the Cinquantenaire area in Brussels. The first scholarly catalogue of the tapestry collection has been published by Marthe Crick-Kuntziger in 1956. After one century, some one hundred and seventeen items had been purchased or donated. It offered a sampling from the several production centers in Belgium (Tournai, Brussels, Bruges, Oudenaarde, Enghien) and abroad, mainly from France. After sixty-five years, this publication - an authority in its time – is now out of print, and the collection grew meanwhile with thirty-eight new pieces, up to the twentieth century. Many items and series are now world famous, mostly from the heydays in Brussels in the sixteenth century, but also from the baroque and eighteenth century. At the same time, the international scholarly literature about the history of tapestry has grown in an exponential way. Important collection catalogues, written accordingly to the actual rules of art history, were issued since the late twentieth century. The impulse was given by American museums: Boston (1967), New York (1985 and 1993), San Francisco (1976/1992) , Minneapolis (1994 ) and Chicago (2008) , but also followed and equaled in Europe : Madrid (1986), Paris (1987) , Rome ( 1994) , Florence (1998/2007/2018) , Bern (2001) Amsterdam (2004), Lausanne (2010) , Cracow (2017) and Glasgow (2019). A new synthesis and status quaestionis has been expected since a long time for the national collection in Brussels. Both authors, who runned the collection for many years, have incorporated the latest data from the available scholarly literature and they have completed it with the results of their own research. The actual digital techniques of photography allow high quality reproductions of these art works, to the best satisfaction of everybody interested in this secular art of weaving.
CitationDelmarcel, Guy; De Meûter, Ingrid (2023). The Cinquantenaire Tapestries.. , Vol. 1, Snoeck Publishers,