Home > Archive >Rug in de Bray's 1669 Painting
Tue, Nov 16th, 2004 10:14:24 AM
Topic: Rug in de Bray's 1669 Painting

Using paintings to provenance carpets has always appeared to me as something of a limited exercise because of the “poetic” license most painters employed. Sure there were a few who copied exactly what they saw but they are in the minority. Most times there are telltale signs this “interpretative process” has been at work.

Plus trying to date a weaving on the basis of its appearance in a dated painting provides little information other than “it’s not later than __” rather than the actual date of its origin.

Here is a perfect example of this:

This painting done by the Dutch artist Jan de Bray is in the Currier Museum of Art and has not, to my limited knowledge of paintings with Oriental rugs, been noted by the rugs in painting enthusiasts. Entitled “Banquet of Antony and Cleopatra” it was painted in 1669 and supposedly the artist’s parents, wife and siblings are portrayed on the canvas.

De Bray probably did a better job of reproducing his relatives than the carpet we see in the foreground. What kind of rug is this?

Rk.com feels it is only a composite of features found in other pieces and not, in reality, the representation of anything other than the painter’s imagination of what a noble rug should look like.

Maybe someone has some better ideas?

By the way this painting and others by de Bray can be seen in their exhibition "Jan De Bray and the Classical Tradition" Nov 12, 2004 - Feb.21, 2005 at the Museum which is located at 201 Myrtle Way in Manchester, New Hampshire USA.

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