In praise of TX1
This set of tapestries, based on cartoons by Giulio Romano, is referred to as “Children Playing”. It was executed in wool, silk, gold and silver; probably at the workshop of Nicolas Karcher, a Flemish craftsman who settled in Mantua; probably circa 1539; probably for Cardinal Hercules Gonzaga, who later owned them (one actually bears the inscription “HER MAN”). The Gulbenkian owns four of these, as well as two fragments of two others. Here are the three currently displayed in the museum and various out-takes from them.
They are displayed in a protective semi-murk, which is a great mood enhancer — a comfortable bench has been conveniently placed at a very good viewing distance in front of them — but has been heretofore a terrible impediment for anyone trying to photograph them.
Well, thanks to Sony’s TX1, museal murk is no longer an impediment. Here are the three tapestries in global view — the tapestries are huge (6 x 4 meters at least) and so have to be photographed from some distance, the resulting image being none too clear:
But as long as you can get within 3 feet of the work, TX1 delivers:
I have not been able to learn yet what the iconography of this series means, but I find it delightful: a bunch of kids out in a fruit grove in the country, away from the city, its adults and controls, naked, with minimal supervision (the sole adult seems to accompany them on a harp rather than try to keep them in check), being as rowdy and crazy as their heart would please — with all the terrible consequences of the surfeit of freedom — bleeding noses and crack’d skulls — which, of course, you are just not allowed to have for your own protection.
It makes me think of a grafitto I saw this morning from the local anarchist brigade:
“You call this freedom? We want more.”