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Arrival of Paris and Helen at the Court of Priam, King of Troy

Arrival of Paris and Helen at the Court of Priam, King of Troy, c. 1500

Europe: Flanders, 1490-1510
wool and silk threads
157 x 164 in. (398.7 x 416.6 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

Not on View

The arrival of Paris and Helen in Troy is heralded with great fanfare. Throngs of welcoming noblemen and women line the road from the gates of the city to the palace. A chorus of trumpeters on a tapestry-laden balcony announces their approach. At the bottom left, Helen bows before King Priam, who has a long white beard and a flared crown. Paris, recognizable by his curly brown locks and the three gold chains around his neck, presents his bride-to-be.

The narrative proceeds to the right, where, inside the palace, Priam introduces Helen to the ladies of the court. Jewel-encrusted columns delineate the sumptuous interior. Paris’s mother, Hecuba—identified by her crown inlaid with jewels—inclines forward to embrace her son. Both scenes are full of imaginative and anecdotal details from daily life, from the faces appearing through windows to the young aristocrat in the center foreground, who sports a feathered hat and bead-embroidered leggings.

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