An in-depth study for all aspects of Jordaens´s activity as a designer of tapestries within the context of 17th-century tapestry manufacture in Flanders, additionally analyzing his major tapestry series while providing data on all his major tapestry designs.
This study explores all aspects of Jacob Jordaens's extensive activity as a designer of tapestry and his prominence in this field. It places Jordaens within the context of design for and the manufacture of tapestry during the seventeenth century in Flanders when it was considered the most important form of textile and an item of luxury. The publication includes a discussion of Jordaens's preparation for work in this field, his approach to design, his patrons and his relationship to contemporaries in the same area of artistic endeavour. The six major series designed by Jordaens - The History of Alexander the Great, The Life of Odysseus, Scenes from Country Life, The Riding School, Proverbs and the Life of Charlemagne - are thouroughly analyzed with regard to surviving visual material and written statements, the interpretation and content of the narrative scenes and the significance of the themes for the seventeenth century. A catalogue raisonné provides data on all the tapestries woven after Jordaens's designs with the preparatory works for them, including drawings, modelli and cartoons. The initial studies in watercolour are particularly illuminating about his unusual sensitivity for this type of work. The tapestry weavers and various sets they produced after his designs are also established. Jordaens was especially prolific in the area of tapestry design and it is shown that some of his most innovative and sophisticated inventions were produced for tapestry. His effort in this area was one of the most unique in Flanders and his achievement remains distinct.