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Not to be missed: the Tapestry of the Apocalypse

The Château of Angers jealously guards the world’s oldest and longest medieval tapestry: the Tapestry of the Apocalypse. This historical masterpiece has defied the passage of time and is composed of a series of tapestries measuring 104 metres in length and relating the story of the Apocalypse from the book of Revelation by Saint John.

Upon entering the low-lit gallery, visitors will be struck by the 65 biblical scenes spread out over 100 metres in front of them. Commissioned in the late 14th century by Louis I, Duke of Anjou, the Tapestry of the Apocalypse is an exceptionally fine masterpiece of medieval artwork. The Duke entrusted Jean de Bruges, who was Painter to King Charles V, with drawing the preparatory sketches for the work, which depicts the final scenes of the Bible. It took nearly 7 years of work at the loom to create the 140 metres of tapestry, which was originally composed of 6 pieces and 74 scenes. The task of weaving the wool was entrusted to a Parisian workshop under Nicolas Bataille, who used “de lice” and “sans revers” techniques which give the piece its immaculate finish. The tapestry was originally stored safely out of sight in chests and was only displayed on rare occasions, such as at the marriage of Louis II of Anjou to Yolande of Aragon, or the arrival of King Louis XI. Upon the death of King René, it was bequeathed to the Cathedral of Angers which preserved it until the 18th century. It was severely damaged during the Enlightenment when it was cut up to be used as coats for horses and mats, and it was not until the middle of the 19th century that it was recovered, restored and listed as a Historic Monument. The Château of Angers built a specially-designed gallery to exhibit this precious treasure, which it carefully preserves using different conservation techniques.
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