• Tapestry: The Wedding of Mestra

    Technique:
    tapestry weaving
    Dimensions:
    346x395 cm

Tapestry: The Wedding of Mestra

Flanders, Brussels, first quarter of the 16th century

The subject of this tapestry is borrowed from one of the legends told by the Roman poet Ovid in his book “Metamorphoses” (VIII: 740 – 885). The King of Thessaly Erysichthon insulted Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, who punished him with an insatiable hunger. Trying to satisfy his hunger, the wretched man squandered his wealth and was forced to sell his own daughter Mestra into slavery. But Mestra was granted by god of the sea Neptune the power of transforming herself into a different creature. Her father sold her numerous times to make money to feed himself, and each time she would come back to him in the shape of a fisherman, or a bird, or a bull, or a deer. After Erysichthon’s death Mestra married the son of Mercury, Autolycus, one of the Argonauts. The tapestry depicts Mestra’s wedding. In the foreground we can see a solemn procession of the newlyweds– Mestra and the son of Mercury, Autolycus, surrounded by numerous retinue. At the back, the scene on the left shows Mestra kneeling before Neptune, depicted in the form of a bearded old man, thanking him for the power of transformation granted by him. On the right, decorated with patterned fabric, is the platform occupied by the honorary guests – the Olympian gods including Venus, Mercury and Neptune who was once enamoured of Mestra. Over the platform a Latin inscription is visible, "In die dedicationis di (vi) ne Neptunus Mestram recipvit decinde eam deflorvit"(“Wasn’t it on the day devoted to Gods that Neptune took possession of Mestra”). Regardless of the subject, chevaliers and ladies depicted in the early 16th century tapestries were dressed in clothes worn at the court of the monarch of the Netherlands.

Title:

Tapestry: The Wedding of Mestra

Place of creation:

Material:

Technique:

tapestry weaving

Dimensions:

346x395 cm

Acquisition date:

Originally in the the former Museum of the Decorative and Applied Arts (the Central School of Technical Drawing of Baron A. L. Shtieglitz)

Inventory Number:

Т-15620

Collection:

Subcollection: