Brussels tapestries

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One of the most important tapestry factories in Europe, which first rose to prominence during the late 15th century. Impressed by the technical expertise of the factory, Pope Leo X commissioned Pieter van Aelst to weave The Acts of the Apostles series after Raphael's cartoons (1516–19), which were then hung in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on grand occasions, establishing Brussels as the leading tapestry centre in Europe. Other factories copied this set, including Mortlake. In the early 17th century Rubens provided many cartoons for the weavers. Although Brussels continued to produce tapestries throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the main centre for production passed to Paris in 1663, when the Gobelins factory was taken over by Colbert for the king, attracting many of the best Flemish weavers away from Brussels.

Subjects: Art.

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