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Bequest of Hélène Irwin Fagan
Gallery Rotation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 1988
A Collection Rediscovered: European Tapestries, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, 1992
The three fragments, including 1975.5.28 and 1975.5.29, 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, Menelaus, Helen's first husband and leader of the Greeks, attacks Deiphobus, who married her after the death of Paris. The text of the banderole affixed to the top of the panel represents the last two lines of a quatrain that appears on early weavings of the Petrarchan "Triumph of Death over Chastity": "puis Atropos et ses deux seurs fatailles/ A chastete sans rigele et sans compas/ Viennent ouvrir le mortel dernier pas/ pour demonstrer leurs puissances totalles" (Then Atropos and her sister Fates/ To Chastity without rule or compass/ Come to open the last mortal step/ To demonstrate their total power"). A patch inserted at lower left shows part of a label ("...riositas"); it appears unrelated. 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.