An Elderly Woman (Tisiphone?) Offers a Chalice to a Prince (Menelaus?)
Woven at the Beauvais tapestry manufactory, France, 1664 - present. After Artist/maker unknown, French.
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Inscriptions on the robes of the young knight and the old woman offering him a chalice appear to identify the figures as "Menelaus" and "Tisiphone". Menelaus was a hero of the Greeks in the Trojan War, and husband of Helen, who was abducted by Paris. Tisiphone is one of the furies from ancient mythology. (The furies are monstrous sisters of classical mythology charged with avenging the misdeeds of humankind.) The presence of these characters suggests that this tapestry and its companion (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1958-117-1) represent subjects taken from a medieval chivalric romance on the Trojan War.