The Bayeux Tapestry or Tapestry of Queen Matilda, a name given by the French tradition about this piece would have been created by Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, and her maids, is a tapestry of the XI century, that is to say, from the Romanesque period, measuring nearly seventy metres long and it tells, through a succession of images with texts in Latin, the previous events to the Norman conquest of England, finishing in the Battle of Hastings.
A tapestry is a large silk or woolen cloth used as wall hangings, woven manually, used to reproduce pictures or drawings. The use of tapestries in the Middle Ages is very common, and is often found both in churches and in homes of people of high social status as the aristocracy. But due to the fragility of the tissue, not many are preserved.
Although it is called a tapestry, it is an embroidery where the added wires follow the designed silhouette of motifs and figures. The base tissue is a fine linen or canvas cloth. Wool yarn is mainly used in four basic colors (red, yellow, green and blue) and eight shades from finest linen vegetable dyes of the time like the dyer, glitter or indigo, which were mixed with thread to give relief to certain figures as arrows and spears.
This tapestry tells the events that happened between 1064 and 1066 about the conquest of England by the Normans and the Battle of Hastings. Therefore, the theme is profane, taken from the history of England, although there are also comparisons with biblical themes. Harold, Earl of Wessex, swore assign its rights to the English throne to the Duke of Normandy, William, but when he accepted the appointment of king of England, William invaded the country and defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings, starting the Norman monarchy in England.
The tapestry is telling scenes of this event as a continuous band as if it was a comic, with in a succession of scenes full of expressiveness and with great vivid colors, although without interest in spatial representation.
Although there is no evidence of who is or are the authors of this tapestry nor who was the person who inspired the work, the author or authors had been inspired by a variety of sources that are recognizable, especially the stories told in the memorial columns as the Column of Trajan in Rome, Anglo-Saxon biblical manuscripts or Byzantines, and the long wall cloths popular in Scandinavia.
About the Romanesque period, it blooms in the Christian West between the XI and XIII centuries, by country, as a result of the summation of the Roman traditions and oriental influences of Byzantines or Arabs.
At the end of the X century, the Christian Europe reached stability, and the Church had supremacy. His power was expanded with the failed apocalyptic prophecies. In the XI century increased the agricultural yields and technical progress.
Romanesque art was spread from Scandinavia to southern Italy and the north of the Iberian Peninsula, including the British Isles and much of central Europe. It is nationally and regionally variable.
The original tapestry is preserved and exhibited at the Musée de
Tapisserie de Bayeux in the city of Bayeux, Normandy, France.
Do you want to see it in its full size (well, in your screen)? Enter in the following link to see the image: