The exhibition "Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor," which opened at the Metropolitan Museum in 2007, was the occasion for a symposium at which renowned tapestry scholars presented results of some of their important, highly detailed research. This volume publishes the papers in well-illustrated articles. The introductory article tours the exhibition, setting out its organization over the course of the period 1590 through the early 1700s, which saw the scattering of Flemish weavers around Europe during years of religious turmoil and the resulting development of the tapestry industry in such centers as Delft, Helsingor, Munich, London (Mortlake), Paris, and Rome, and then the industry's revival in Brussels. In their articles, the contributors concentrate on specific individuals in tapestry design, production, and collecting.
They distill the results of laborious digging through family and crown inventories, parish records, notarial accounts, and other archival resources, as well as close examination of historical reports, to put forward new assessments of the accomplishments of tapestry designers and producers and a better understanding of the reasons wealthy patrons collected and displayed tapestries and presented them as gifts. A number of the articles include appendixes with transcriptions of archival material.
Thomas P. Campbell is Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was formerly Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Museum. Elizabeth A. H. Cleland is Assistant Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.