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The Allegory of Victory

French tapestry weaver according to a sketch of Jean Leclerc’s

Francia, first half of the 17th century

Material: Wool and silk

Size: 285 x 290 cm

review by gherardo turchi

Greatly preserved, the wood and silk tapestry we’re going to analyse was carried out in the first half of the seventeenth century according to a drawing of Jean Leclerc’s.

A lot of French tapestry makers drew inspiration from his sketches at that time to weave the artworks they were asked for, by European nobles especially.

As Claude Leclerc de Pilligny’s younger son, Jean was born in Nancy in 1587. Because of his father’s religious clashes with the Lorenas, he was compelled to leave Nancy, along with his older brother. He moved to Italy where, in 1602, he found shelter at the Serenissima Republic of Venice.

Jean started working at Carlo Saraceni’s workshop where he was steered to painting, although he would often enjoy Venice’s army to fight against the Ottoman Empire.

Once in Rome, where he had moved with Saraceni in 1612, his style was highly borne upon by Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio.

He then started drawing after he’d set painting aside. He carried out several religious and allegorical artworks he’d send to Nancy’s master tapestry weavers, since he had been in touch with them for lots of years.

They are very likely to have received the drawing the tapestry we’re analysing is inspired by as well.

Its brown pale tones, finely improved by the red and blue clothes of the characters, are known to prove Jean Leclerc’s own style.

The Allegory of Victory, whose solemnity is skilfully enhanced by all the war trophies at its sides such as the cornucopia, is in the background. The mythological character and all the items are said to recall what Leclerc had been used to during the military campaigns against the Ottoman Empire.

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