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May Dance
May Dance
Date:
1700–1720
Location:
Not on display
Century:
Media:
Wool, Silk; Tapestry Weave
Dimensions:
335 x 406 cm (131 7/8 x 159 13/16 in.)
Object Type:
Country:
Continent:
Europe
Culture/People:
Flemish
Accession Number:
1957.172
Acquisition Date:
1957-10-14
Credit Line:

Gift of George D. Smith

Exhibition History:

Five Centuries of Tapestry, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 1976
National Tour: Five Centuries of Tapestry, Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, New York, 12/3/77- 1/29/78; Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, 5/13/78 - 7/2/78; Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, 9/13/78 - 10/29/78

Seven peasant men and women celebrate the first day of May, dancing energetically to the music of flute and drum in a clearing before a manor house. At the center of their dance is a tree encircled by a wreath from which ribbons flutter. Three other figures in the background dance to the bagpipe. At left a man tugs at a woman’s apron, trying to draw her toward the dance. These rustic festivities are watched by two observers in the manor house at right and by the boy seated astride a large rock in the left foreground. Holding a bridle of branches, he pauses his game of make-believe to listen to the music and to watch the dancing. The eye moves from this foreground activity to the distance where a shepherd drives his flock and to the cluster of buildings on the horizon. The scene is bordered by an imitation gold frame. The lower guard, outside the frame, bears the mark of Brussels and the name P. Van den Hecke. From Anna Gray Bennett, "Five Centuries of Tapestry: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco" (San Francisco: Chronicle Books; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1976; repr. 1992): 208.