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Catherine D. Wentworth Collection
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
Ovid, among others, told the story of Achilles at Skyros. To save her son Achilles from the pitiless fate foretold by Kalchas if he should join the Trojan conflict, Thetis dressed him as a girl and hid him at Skyros among the daughters of King Lycomedes. Knowing that the Greeks could not win without Achilles, Ulysses followed him there and unmasked his identity. Six excited young women surround a basket brimming with jeweled trinkets and shawls. The most regal is surely Deidamia, with whom Achilles had fallen in love. The girls’ examination of the basket has been interrupted by Achilles, who, finding a helmet among the trinkets, puts it on. Deidamia and her sisters give him a startled look of recognition. The action is not lost on the crafty “peddler,” Ulysses, who whispers to his companion and gestures for silence. The inscription on the cartouche reads: VESTE.PVELLARI/LATITANS. DETECTVS/ ACHILLES (Achilles is discovered hiding in women’s clothing). The weaving corresponds closely to a sketch by Rubens. 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): 188.