As the so-called capital of the world when it comes to fashion and art, it is safe to say that Europe is synonymous to style and elegance. Such is also true with European tapestries. These artworks have rich histories that date back to several centuries ago, from the medieval times when tapestry art reached its peak.
In fact, the earliest artworks have been found to originate in Greece from as early as 2nd or 3rd century BC. Back then, Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands were the centers of creation of these works. The Church, as the most powerful social institution during that era, had a lot to do with the art’s enduring popularity, as it commissioned artists to depict stories from the Bible to be immortalized in these tapestries for generations to come.
Remember that during the Middle Ages, tapestries adorned the walls of castles and grand ballrooms. European tapestries, as diverse as the continent itself, include a wide array of themes and subjects all relevant to the European way of life. The most popular ones feature European sceneries, landmarks, landscapes, personalities, and replicas of great art pieces that Europe is known for. These include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a shot of the Venetian canals, and portraits of monarchs, just to name a few.
Because of this wide array of themes, European tapestries are versatile. They can be placed in practically any room of the house and fit any motif of home decor. You can never go wrong with hanging your favorite European destination in your living room, to somehow bring such dream destination within your reach.
Tapestries that originate from Belgium, including the Bayeux type and Beatrix type, are some of the most popular in the world. Typically, they depict momentous events in history, such as signing of a declaration or infamous invasions and wars. Works of Raphael and William Morris are also commonly replicated in tapestry form to make them more accessible to those who can’t afford these expensive pieces of art.
Belgian tapestries are most commonly placed in living room or kitchen walls because of their grand character. They are meant to showcase your choice in work of art, to occupy a place of prominence in your home for your visitors to admire. To attain dramatic effect, Belgian tapestries go hand in hand with lighting fixtures for more prominent display.
French tapestries are typically romantic paintings by Gobelins and Francois Boucher. The most common subject matter is the Romantic period, when ladies were treated with utmost respect and attention. Rich, warm colors and thick textures make French tapestries breathtaking.
If Belgian tapestries are suited to adorn living rooms, French tapestries usually occupy bedroom walls because they are perceived as warm, romantic, and soothing. These invoke passion so make sure you pick a scenery, portrait, or landmark that is close to your heart.
Introduced in the late 18th century in England, cityscapes have become a popular subject matter in European tapestries. These usually involve a scene by the beach, the local market, a famous landmark such as a bridge, or anything at all that might catch someone’s attention when touring a city. What makes them distinctive is that they represent a particular era or setting. More often than not, cityscapes portray a specific point in history, such as the Renaissance.
While you may think of European tapestries as purely decorative, remember that the aristocracy during the Middle Ages used these artworks as insulation in castles and mansions. Today, they are also used for a variety of practical uses, from sound-proofing a room to covering a nasty hole in the wall.