Gothic Tapestry Research Paper

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Lee Lynch Dr. Patton Research Paper November 5, 2013 Word Count: 2010 The Secular Niche of Gothic Tapestry Tapestry in Europe became very fashionable for artists to portray historical events during the Gothic period. These exquisite works took time to gain the appreciation of the general public. However, by the fifteenth century they became incredibly popular and were sought after by kings, clergy, and even wealthy merchants. The maritime renaissance of this time period created a subject matter that monarchs and artists could collaborate on; portraying historical events in a more complex and layered approach than painting. Europe became fascinated with fabrics and textiles from other areas of the world after the Romanesque period. Due to the…show more content…
Gothic buildings were great stone structures that sought extreme verticality. This verticality was symbolically a means of reaching closer to God, as the majority of structures created during this time were cathedrals or at least linked to Christianity. Once these buildings were built they were frequently decorated with stained glass, a labored process that required artisan skill. Tapestry factories, though small, first begin to appear in the fourteenth century. However, at the turn of the fifteenth century the medium had taken hold and become a thriving industry, which took root in many European cities such as, Flanders and France. The work produced was exquisite. Tapestry is a very different process from painting. Where painting produces a dynamic image using chiaroscuro, vibrant color, and perspective, tapestry uses these qualities while adding depth, dimension, and texture. To create one of these large scale tapestries, like the Pastrana tapestries that were over thirty feet wide, and twenty feet high, it took a workshop using only the finest silks from the east, dying them to the appropriate colors, and subsequently put onto a loom where they would be stretched and weaved from the back side of the image. These tapestries were a collaboration and would be designed by a variety of artists and then produced by highly skilled weavers. Because of their intricate process they were originally used to signal festival days in the church. They would be brought out to cover the walls in a systematic fashion. There was a three-part division in decorating churches. The first being that tapestries and curtains would hang in the general areas of the church, while the choir would be dressed in bench covering tapestries, and lastly the alter would house the relics and candles. The

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