Pays de la Loire Section

Apocalypse Tapestry - Angers - Jean Lurcat

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Apocalypse Tapestry in Angers

The Apocalypse Tapestry is the largest and oldest tapestry - known to date - made in Paris.

It is located in the Chateau d'Angers, in the Loire Valley.

Duke Louis I of Anjou, the brother of King Charles V, commissioned it between 1373 and 1383 for the marriage of Louis II and Yolande of Aragon in 1400.

Afterward, the tapestry was occasionally exhibited for religious celebrations, until King René bequeathed it to the cathedral of Angers.

Set aside and forgotten for generations, it was then restored during the Second Empire (1852-1870), when Antiquity was fashionable.

It was once more forgotten for decades in a storage room... until 1938, when Jean Lurçat re-discovered it!

In 1952, a building was erected on the site of the castle's kitchens in order to store and preserve it.

However, a room equipped with a sophisticated air filtering and control of temperature and light, was especially built for it in 1996.

Apocalypse Tapestry in its special room

What is the Apocalypse tapestry?

The 103m long by 4.5m high tapestry is composed of six panels of equal size.

These panels represent 75 different scenes.

The backgrounds of each panel are alternately red and blue and form an immense exchequer.

The front and back of the tapestry are identical.

The original colours are amazingly still intact at the rear back.

The scenes illustrate the texts of the last book of the Gospel of St-John.

Jean Lurçat Museum in Angers

A talented artist ahead of his time, Jean Lurçat revived the art of weaving in France!

He indeed introduced new designs, modern colours and strong lines and patterns in complete contrast to the traditional style.

His creations reflect a very contemporary approach which owned him worldwide recognition!

The Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie of Angers was founded in the former Hopital St-Jean.

This hospital, founded in 1174 by Henry II Plantagenêt, it is the oldest non-military hospital remaining in France.

It is located in the Quartier D'Outre, on the north bank of the river Maine.

The museum exhibits the brightly coloured tapestries produced by Jean Lurçat.

The Apocalypse Tapestry was a great source of inspiration for him.

Lurçat indeed subsequently created the Joys and Agonies of Humanity in the Face of Life and Death.

The 80m long tapestry is divided into 10 sections.

One of his most acclaimed creations is the Song of the World which is exhibited in the vaulted Salle des Malades (patients' dormitory).

Another museum, the nearby Centre Régional d'Art Textile (Regional Centre of Textile Art) chronicles the different weaving techniques.

Some of Lurcat's tapestries are exhibited in the Galerie des Gobelins in Paris.

N.B. Photos of the Apocalypse Tapestry are forbidden inside the exhibition hall in order to protect it.

Department of Maine-et-Loire
Coordinates: Lat 47.470000 - Long -0.560000

Photos via Wikimedia Commons: Galerie de l'Apocalypse - La Chute de Babylone  - l'Aigle du malheur  - Le chiffre et la Bete
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