A Beauvais Royal Manufactory tapestry
Part of the Ovide Metamorphosis series
After René-Antoine Houasse (1645 – 1710)
XVIIe siècle vers 1690/ 17th century, circa 1690
Woven in wool and silk
Iconography and description
Ovide has counted the loves of Vertumnus and Pomona, Roman god and goddess, protectors of gardens, orchards and the ripening fruits. Vertumnus tried to seduce Pomona in various rustic disguises: as a ploughman, a reaper, a wine grower, a gardener…but he failed… He finally took the appearance of an old woman and proceeded to count her a story and to plead his own cause. Then he revealed himself to her in his true shape, the resplendent, youthful god and Pomona was conquered. On the tapestry, the two figures are seated on a bench in stone and near Pomona, there is a basket of fruits and flowers. In the back there is a splendid park with balustrades, walls and portico in stone, bowls with cactus. Six gardeners are working in the park and this landscape is very evocative of the domain of the divinities. The central composition is framed by a beautiful border decorated of rinceaus of flowers and scrolls of acanthus leaves, and olive branches.
This tapestry woven under the direction of Philippe Behagle, head of the Beauvais Royal Manufactory, from 1684 to 1705, is a perfect example of a taste for the supernatural created by the association of mythology in the frame of nature at its top.