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Marriage of Paris and Helen

Marriage of Paris and Helen, c. 1500

Europe: Flanders, 1490-1510
Wool and silk threads
146-1/4 x 134-1/2 in. (371.4 x 341.6 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

Not on View

A canopied dais provides the framework for the marriage scene. Paris sits next to his mother and holds the ring up for her examination. Helen wears the same dress as in the Arrival, with a veil draped over her arm; she kneels below them, along with the other ladies of the court. Elevated behind them, King Priam sits under the wedding canopy alongside another nobleman, possibly Hector, who would then be accompanied by his wife, Andromache. Pale woven captions in Latin identify Helen on the floor to her right; those of Paris and Hector are above their heads, and Priam’s identification is to his left. The figures are not dressed in ancient Greek attire but in the richly decorated garments contemporary to the period and appropriate to their status. The luxurious nature of these tapestries and the intimacy of their scenes suggest that they were likely displayed in smaller public rooms, or even the private room of a residence.

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