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The Arrival of Paris and Helen, from Scenes from the Trojan War
The Arrival of Paris and Helen, from Scenes from the Trojan War
Not on display
Wool, Silk; Tapestry Weave
300 x 149 cm (118 1/8 x 58 11/16 in.)
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Bequest of Hélène Irwin Fagan

Exhibition History:

A Collection Rediscovered: European Tapestries, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, 1992

The three fragments, including 1975.5.29 and 1975.5.30, are believed to have come from the same large tapestry. Their framework of jeweled or ornamented columns and pilasters relates them to a number of tapestries woven in the late fifteenth century. These architectural elements divide scenes that are often arranged in two or more registers. In this fragment, Paris and Helen arrive by boat at the upper right. Their approach is heralded on the shore by a man who points excitedly, alerting others to the significance of the event. At the upper left, the young woman looking seaward could be the prophetess Cassandra, foreseeing the consequences of the abduction. The figures wind in serpentine procession to the richly dressed courtiers in the foreground, who react to the news with expressions of alarm. The figures may include the brothers of Paris, Hector and Troilus, whose destinies were also bound up in the fate of Troy. 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): pp. 46, 48.