“Zo’n mooie wandtapijten” Nurturing the Global Taste for Flemish Tapestries
Seventeenth-century Antwerp weaver Cornelis de Wael’s pride in the tapestries he was offering to London clients speaks to the generations’ long domination of tapestries in Flanders’ export market. Already at the start of the sixteenth-century, Venetian ambassador Vincenzo Quirini was to list “magnificent figurative tapestries” as the epitome of Flanders’ artistic excellence across media. Within a couple of decades, Brussels’ legwerkers ambacht was obliged to introduce legislation to deter “Spanish, Portuguese and other foreign” merchants from sponsoring subpar goods, often embellished with paint, for export. This presentation explores the intersection between the entrepreneurship and networking of Flemish weaver-dealers, on the one hand, and the strict quality control measures introduced by the guilds, on the other.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Dr. Elizabeth Cleland is curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York where she has been working since 2004 and is responsible for post-medieval European textiles. She studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art, receiving her MA and PhD as a British Academy Scholar. At The Met she (co-)curated exhibitions such as Relative Values: The Cost of Art in the Northern Renaissance (2017-2022), Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry (2014-2015) and The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England. She has published extensively on northern Renaissance textiles and was the principal author of Grand Design’s award-winning catalogue.