A Tapestry after Michel 1er Corneille Acquired for the Château in Châteaudun

Tapestry Workshop of Raphael de La Planche ;
Michel Ier Corneille (c. 1603-1664)
Erminia Helping Tancred, c. 1660
Wool and Silk - 315 x 371 cm
Châteaudun, château
Photo : Centre des Monuments Nationaux

13/1/13 - Acquisition - Châteaudun, château (CMN) - Less well-known than other châteaux managed by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, the one in Châteaudun is a beautiful building dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, dominated by a dungeon constructed in 1170. It holds notably a collection of 70 tapestries, 50 of which were produced in Paris before the founding of the Gobelins factory.

Among these tapisseries, there was an almost complete series of The Story of Clorinda and Tancred after Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, a cycle executed from cartoons by Michel Corneille. Made up of seven scenes, the only one missing was the representation of Tancred Helping Clorinda.
We are thus pleased to hear of the recent purchase (November 2012) of one of these tapestries by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, from the Hadjer & Fils Gallery, thus finally completing the series. The scene, from canto 19, represents the moment when Erminia, accompanied by Vafrine, finds Tancred wounded after the battle. In all, there are six known replicas of this piece, one of which resides at the Préfecture in Nevers which also holds Clorinda Freeing Olinda and Sophronia. Other tapestries from this series belong to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs which holds an almost complete cycle except for the scene illustrating Trancred Orders the Construction of a Mausoleum for Clorinda of which we know only two versions, including the one at Châteaudun.

Although this château can now display a complete cycle, the tapestries do not all come from the same series. The border with floral decoration is found only in three other known pieces, only one of which resides at Châteadun (Clorinda’s Baptism). Its description would seem to indicate that this was produced for the King by the Parisian workshops of Raphael de La Planche, a relative of Michel Corneille, which wove most of the tapestries in the series recounting The Story of Clorinda and Tancred [1].

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 15 janvier 2013


[1] The information in this news item is drawn from the "Note d’opportunité" forwarded to us by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. We also consulted the catalogue for the 2006 exhibition in Orleans by Emmanuel Coquery, Michel Corneille (v. 1603-1664), un peintre du roi au temps de Mazarin, (see article in French).

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