The Apocalyse Tapestry in Angers is one of those historical masterpieces which takes your breath away and then transports you into another world.
At the Chateau d’Angers, a controlled climate in the display hall results in fortuitous stage management once you pass through the sets of doors: involuntarily you go “Aah!”. The only other place where tapestries really do this for me is when entering the oval room where the Lady with the Unicorn tapestries are shown in the Cluny Museum, Paris. The sheer number of panels here is staggering – a total of 353 feet long and 20 feet high yet these are only seventy of the original nearly hundred panels.
The Apocalyse Tapestry history
The Apocalyse Tapestry was designed by painter Hennequin de Bruges for Louis I of Anjou. It was woven in Paris between 1375 and 1382 by a team led by Nicolas Bataille and Robert Poincon. In six sections it shows Biblical scenes of the Apocalyse in St John’s Book of Revelation: the end of the world. Thus there are plenty of scenes of horror and death but righteousness prevails triumphantly. It was displayed in Angers Cathedral for centuries, telling a striking visual tale to the illiterate people of Angers. But it was cut into many pieces in the French Revolution and suffered the fate of many tapestries. Fortunately much was saved and the retrieved portions eventually returned to the cathedral.
The Apocalyse Tapestry today
In 1954 a new hall was created for the Apocalyse Tapestry in the Chateau d’Angers where we enjoy this ancient medieval masterpiece today. One of our French weavers has produced a wall tapestry featuring the New Jerusalem from a section of the Apocalypse Tapestry and we have several other details from the original available today for our homes. All are lined and have a rod pocket for easy hanging.