(early 15th century in Arras)

The Offering of the Heart

c. 1410
Musée du Louvre, Paris

This world-famous tapestry is one of the finest representations of the notion of elevating and sublime romantic love which formed part of the chivalric ideals of the Middle Ages. A dark background of trees, flowering plants and animals provides a decorative framework to the scene of gallantry in the foreground. A falcon is perched on the gloved left hand of the lady, wearing the rich clothes of the period; her right hand is stretched to the dog jumping up to her. The blue of her white-lined robe is the colour of fidelity. Only the red garments of the approaching knight warm the prevailing blue-green tones of the composition. With a somewhat delicate gesture he holds the heart, the symbol of his love, between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. This wall tapestry is perhaps the loveliest creation of late mediaeval French art; its serene beauty and enchanting details exquisitely set forth the chivalric picture of earthly love in the courts of France and Burgundy of that day.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.