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Franz van den Planken and Marc Coomans, The Birth of Diana
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
early-mid 17th century
Material and technique
wool and silk
415 x 405 cm
Alessandro Zuccari

In this episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses Latona, holding on to the trunk of a palm tree and an olive branch, gives birth to Diana and Apollo. On the right, Latona appears again holding by hand her two children by Jupiter. The two scenes take place in a wood carpeted with flowers that opens out towards a piece of water with a few boats.
The tapestry is part of a series of ten stories of Diana that was reproduced several times in the Louvre workshop founded by Henry IV of France in order to bring to Paris the fine methods of manufacture employed in Flanders. The painter Toussaint Dubreuil (1561-1602) designed the entire cycle, which was produced by the Flemish weavers Franz van den Planken and Marc Coomans, known in France as François de la Planche and Marc de Comans.
The tapestry, in wool and silk on a high warp, reproduces the design in very clear detail and in a wide range of luminous shades. Two weaver’s marks are visible on the right-hand border and on the lower edge, where a ‘P’ for Planken appears alongside the French fleur-de-lys. As in the other panels belonging to the series, the scene is contained within a trompe l’oeil frame decorated with plants, mythological figures and representations of the four Elements.

The Birth of Diana
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