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14 June 2016 – 17 October 2016

State Historical Museum, Moscow

Organized by 
The State Historical Museum

1# Tapestry with coat of armsThe Moscow Kremlin Museums are one of the participants in the exhibition of Western European arms and armour, organized by the State Historical Museum.

The exhibition is based on unique pieces made in the traditions of the Late Renaissance and Mannerism. On display are high-class artworks created by gunsmiths as individual orders either of Habsburg Imperial court or of Dresden and Brunswick, as well as those executed by makers of the largest centres of crafts, i.e. Augsburg and Nuremberg. The pieces allow visitors both to admire the craftsmanship of the 16th and 17th-century armourers and to get the idea of the tastes of the customers.

Along with arms and armour, tapestries were a significant part of imperial and royal collections. Coat of arms on a tapestry demonstrated the special status of the owner; the art pieces were adorned with depictions of the owners’ favourite pastime. Following their rulers, the nobles also collected arrases for decorating castles and palaces.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums present two items of the type inherent in this period known as ‘verdure’ tapestries (from the French ‘verdure’ - green, grass, leaves). They must have been woven in Flanders being 16th-century weaving centre.

The central part of one of the tapestries bears an image of an armorial escutcheon crested with a helmet. Armorial bearings under the shield say “A.MOI.NE.TIEN.GOGNIES”. This verdure is undoubtedly made upon request of a member of the Gognies noble family, well-known in the northeast of France and in Lorraine of the 15th-16th centuries.

Another tapestry is conventionally called “Worldly Avocations”. It is a special type of verdures which appeared in the 16th century and present a woven illustration of an “evergreen garden”. The design combines many themes as well as architectural and landscape motifs. In the centre of the composition, we can see a bear-hunting scene with plenty of characters, which was considered to be a knightly game requiring quite a lot of courage and skill.