Exhibition annotation

Tapestry is a unique woven wall carpet, also called a hand-woven painting. The term ‘tapestry’ first attested in English language in 1467, deriving from the Old French word tapisserie, meaning to ‘cover with heavy fabric’. Lithuanian word ‘gobelenas’ derived from the 17th c. family name Gobelin who had the widely known tapestry factory in Paris. There are several wall carpet types woven in the same technique, such as fieldfare, espalier. However, they are generally called gobelins (tapestries).

The Northern and Central Europe monarchs and nobles became fond of collecting tapestries in the end of the 13th – the beginning of the 14th c. It is often claimed that tapestries were used to insulate the cold brick walls, nevertheless the main functions of tapestries were representativeness and decoration. Tapestries became especially popular in the 15th-16th c. At that time large tapestry weaving centres were rapidly establishing around the Europe, but the most of manufactories were established in Flanders.

The Grand Dukes of Lithuania and the Kings of Poland loved tapestries. Sigismund Augustus tapestry collection consisted of a few hundred tapestries weaved in a manufactories of Brussels. Tapestries were inspired to weave by cardboards painted by famous painters. It was usually woven tapestry series which consisted of 7-12 pieces. Collection of 25 tapestries created in 16th – 17th c. is stored in National Museum Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. There are three oldest Gothic tapestries, as well as Renaissance and Baroque tapestries of various themes. Tapestries from the collection of National Museum Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania are displayed in this virtual exhibition.