Resplendence of the Spanish Monarchy: Renaissance Tapestries and Armor from the Patrimonio Nacional

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9780300201260: Resplendence of the Spanish Monarchy: Renaissance Tapestries and Armor from the Patrimonio Nacional
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With the conquest of Granada in 1492, Ferdinand of Aragón and Isabelle of Castile became the first rulers of all Spain. The discovery of the New World in the same year put them in command of vast, previously untapped resources. When their Hapsburg grandson came to the throne in 1516 as Charles I of Spain—later to govern the Holy Roman Empire as Charles V—Spanish sovereignty expanded still further, for Charles brought with his as his paternal inheritance the duchy of Burgundy, including the Netherlands where he was born. A formidable power in Europe, endowed with a flourishing empire overseas, Spain in the sixteenth century was thus ideally placed to enjoy a Golden Age.

Both Charles I and his son Philip II were monarchs of their time, acting as generous patrons of the arts. They were in a position to call on the best that Europe could supply, and with possessions in Italy as well as Flanders, they had ready access to the two mainsprings of the Renaissance. The collections they formed offer a uniquely privileged view of Renaissance taste and artistry.

Although very different in medium, tapestries and armor exemplify the royal collections, designed not only for personal delectation but also as impressive displays of regal magnificence. Wool and steel were enhanced with precious metals, adding a luster that still dazzles the eye. Images harnessed from myth, religion, allegory, history past and present went into the creation of a world of art that is now timeless and accessible to all.

Today the Patrimonio Nacional is the guardian of this priceless heritage. Visitors to Spain can admire the tapestries hung in the Royal Palace in Madrid, as well as in other reales sitios throughout the country, and the arms and armor housed in the Royal armory of Madrid. Here, presented in English for the first time, is a selection of these treasures: tapestries that eloquently reflect the range of the collection, and pieces of armor outstanding both for their associations and for their aesthetic interest. New color photography was undertaken in order to do justice to the originals. In a masterly introductory essay, Antonio Domínguez Ortiz, member of the Spanish Royal Academy of History, surveys the historical context. The tapestries are described and discussed by Concha Herrero Carretero, curator of tapestries at the Patrimonio Nacional, and the armor by José A. Godoy, curator of arms and armor at the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva. The result is a richly informative and visually splendid work that speaks to expert and art lover alike. [This book was originally published in 1991 and has gone out of print. This edition is a print-on-demand version of the original book.]

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About the Author:

The sumptuous tapestries and handsome armor commissioned or acquired by the 16th-century monarchs Charles V and Philip II are among the least sufficiently esteemed treasures of Spain. This beautifully illustrated exhibition catalog of material drawn from the Patrimonio Nacional should help redress this dereliction and stimulate renewed interest in these master works of Renaissance art. The volume's text provides an introductory overview of the dynastic and historical setting and catalog entries for the individual objects. Unfortunately, the competent but narrow treatment of the tapestries offers little more than the factual essentials. The discussion of the armor more fully documents and describes the objects. The formal and iconographic diversity of these well-selected examples, the excellence of the illustrations, and the core of useful information amply justify the acquisition of this volume by larger public libraries and art collections. - Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York

From Publishers Weekly:

In his introduction to this extravagantly illustrated volume, Spanish historian Ortiz describes court life in 16th-century Spain, the exquisite tapestries produced then and the militaristic mindset that increased demand for ceremonial, often purely symbolic armor. Carretero, curator of tapestries at Spain's Patrimonio Nacional, introduces seven series of lush tapestries woven in Brussels workshops, most crafted of gold, silver, silk and wool. Sacred, historical and mythological themes blend in the tapestries: the Apocalypse series is based on Revelations, the Spheres set depicts Roman gods, and the 12 Conquest of Tunis hangings commemorate an expedition against the Turks. Godoy, curator of arms and armor at Geneva's Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, presents ornate battle gear for horses and men alike, embossed parade armor and weaponry. The more than 150 color illustrations include details and distance shots, allowing as complete an experience of each piece as readers can expect outside a museum.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780810964082: Resplendence of the Spanish Monarchy: Renaissance Tapestries and Armor from the Patrimonio Nacional

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ISBN 10:  0810964082 ISBN 13:  9780810964082
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, 1991
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9780870996214: Resplendence of the Spanish Monarchy: Renaissance Tapestries and Armor from the Patrimonia Nacional

Metrop..., 1991
Softcover

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