Tapestry with playing Putti - inv. 383

Ferrara or Mantua (1540-1545), design by Giulio Romano (1499-1546)

Tapestry with playing Putti
metal thread   wool   silk  
341 x 107 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 383

Fresco Room
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The tapestry is part of a series called “li puttini” in the inventories, woven for Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga. The putti are playing beneath a pergola with chestnut leaves and vine shoots: they climb over an espalier covered with figs and peep through the foliage; they play musical instruments (a drum and a whistle) and dance. The cheerful, animated scene draws on pagan depictions of cupids playing, dancing and gathering fruit. But it is also intended to celebrate the good government of the Gonzagas and so the return of the Mantuan dukedom to a period of childlike happiness, an age of prosperity and harmony.