The Victorious Battle of a Pugnae Ferarum Tapestry

On 29 January 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

A tapestry from Flanders dominated a high-quality selection of antique objets d'art, paintings and furniture.

Flanders, c. 1600. Attributed to the workshop of Jan Raes, Enghien, tapestry from the set of hangings entitled Combats d'animaux in silk, wool and silver thread featuring a fight between a horse and a lion, 342 x 507 cm (134.6 x 200 in).
Result: €90,160

A late 16th-century painting with a scagliola decoration on a slate background, chosen by La Gazette to advertise the sale, garnered a fine €33,488, but was outstripped by this tapestry in silk, wool and silver thread illustrating a fight between a horse and a lion, which roared up to €90,160. Woven around 1600 in Flanders and attributed to Jan Raes's workshop in Enghien, the piece, with its impressive size (342 x 507 cm /134.6 x 200 in) and powerful subject, belongs to a series of hangings entitled Combats d'animaux (Animals Fighting) or Pugnae Ferarum. This series is itself part of a small group of tapestries called Verdures avec animaux (Wild Scenes with Animals), inspired by the works of Dutch artist Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527-1607) and Flemish painter Gillis I Van Coninckxloo (1544-1607). These artists integrated real and fantastic animals harmoniously into their landscapes. This piece shows a dappled horse and a golden-maned lion, primitive-looking rather than truly ferocious, fighting in the heart of a verdant forest inhabited by a host of creatures including peacocks, pheasants, cranes, ducks and snakes. After this, an astonishing €59,248 acclaimed a Head of a Black Man in profile looking to the right (13 x 11 cm/5.1 x 4.3 in): an oil on paper mounted on panel of c. 1700 attributed to a North European school. An unknown figure who might soon find his creator…

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