SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Tapestries served several functions: they were decorative, like paintings, but also helped keep out cold, drafty air. Because they were often more expensive than paintings, tapestries were used as a demonstration of wealth. A king or nobleman might take his tapestries with him when he traveled; they could be rolled up and hung on the walls of his tent when he made camp. They might also be brought out when the court traveled and used as decoration. Tapestries were also hung outside windows for parades and other special occasions, and used indoors to divide larger spaces into smaller ones. King Louis XIV of France owned a set of seven Metamorphoses tapestries, some of which are in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Several were made in two versions, each the mirror image of the other. The Weaving Process Tapestries were woven on a loom; as many as six to ten weavers—usually men—might work on a tapestry at one time. Weaving was a respected and well-paid job. Boys started their apprenticeship to become weavers when they were eleven or twelve years old. A tapestry such as this one was woven by about three weavers, and took about a year to a year-and-ahalf to produce. The woven fabric was made of plain warp yarns (those going lengthwise), which were covered completely during the weaving process by colored weft yarns (those going widthwise). Every stitch was placed by hand. Resources Ovid. Metamorphoses, Book 3. Translated by A. D. Melville. Oxford World's Classics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Standen, Edith Appleton. European Post-medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985. Thornton, Peter. The Italian Renaissance Interior, 1400–1600. New York: Abrams, 1991. Websites Gobelins Tapestry Manufactory (Getty Museum) www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/ artMakerDetails?maker=1214 MuseumKids: Weaving a Story at the Met www.metmuseum.org/explore/publications/pdfs/MusKids_Weaving/MKids_Weaving_entire_guide.pdf The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History—European Tapestry: Production and Patronage, 1600–1800 ad. www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/tapb/hd_ tapb.htm Evan Levy is coordinator of publications for young people, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Classroom Activities Elementary Havestudentsillustrateamyth orfairytaletheyhavereadthat includessomekindoftransformation—maybeapersonchanging intoananimal,orsomeoneplaced underamagicspell.Studentscan illustratetheirownstories—either individuallyorasaclass. Middle School Studentscanworkingroupsto createtheirownseriesofstories basedonMetamorphoses,perhaps usingrecentlystudiedculturesor storiesasatheme.Foradifferent twist,theycanalsousestoriesfrom thenews. High School Studentscandiscusswhetheror nottheythinkActaeon'spunishmentwasfair.Shouldhehave receivedapunishmentatall?Why orwhynot?Havethemwritetheir viewsorformteamstostageapro/ condebate. SchoolArts May/June 2007

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