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Tapestry: The Offering to Bacchus from The Grotesques Series
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory; after cartoons by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, painter
French, Beauvais, about 1690 - 1730
Wool and silk
9 ft. 8 1/2 in. x 6 ft. 8 1/2 in.
86.DD.645

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The Offering to Bacchus, which shows a decorated pavilion housing a white marble statue of Bacchus, is one of a series of six tapestries known as the Grotesques series. The light subject matter and whimsical decoration appealed to a wide range of purchasers, and the Grotesques became one of the most popular sets produced by the Beauvais manufactory. For over forty years, wealthy patrons ordered hangings from the series.

Not only the decorative subject matter, which contrasted with the more formal biblical and historical themes of other contemporary tapestry series, but also the flexibility of the design made it popular. Weavers could easily adapt the composition and change the dimensions to fit a specific location without losing the meaning of the design. The orange-brown color of the background, known as tabac d'Espagne (Spanish tobacco), also became extremely fashionable, and a few individuals ordered matching furniture upholstery to complement this unusual shade.