An Aubusson Royal Manufactory tapestry
17th century, circa 1670
Part of the Story of Achilles series
Designed by Isaac Moillon (1614 – 1673), painter to the King Louis the 14th, so called the Sun King
Woven in wool and silk (warp in wool, weft in wool and silk)
Description and Iconography
In the centre of the tapestry, two lovely young women draw our attention; they are carrying baskets and crowns of flowers and give the impression that they are going either to celebrate a feast or pay homage to a god or a goddess. However, near them, on each side, the secondary scenes must be decrypted. The artist has chosen to present several episodes at the same time. In the middle distance, on the right, Achilles has fallen, wounded on his vulnerable spot, his heel, by the Paris’ arrow. In the back ground, on the left, Polyxena, daughter of Priam, engaged to Achilles is leaning on Achilles’ tomb. In the background on the right, animals are taken to sacrifice in honour of Achilles. They were primarily intended to be sacrificed in honour of the couple. Achilles was offered the hand of Polyxena but it was a plot to kill him. Let’s remark that our regard always comes back to the central group of the two young women who soften by their beauty one of the numerous tragic episodes of the Trajan war.