Tapestry showing Hector Reproaching Paris
From the Iliad of Homer
Designed by Jean-Baptiste Deshays, French (active Paris), 1729 - 1765. Woven at the Beauvais tapestry manufactory, France, 1664 - present, under the direction of André-Charlemagne Charron, French, director of the royal tapestry manufactory, Beauvais, from 1753 to 1780.
By the mid-eighteenth century, some critics were writing that French art was in decline and recommending serious literary subjects, like the Iliad, to encourage a nobler style. The promising young painter Deshays—son-in-law to the artist François Boucher—was selected by the Beauvais manufactory to design a series of tapestries depicting scenes from the Iliad, having already achieved success with a painting of an incident from the ancient epic. Reflecting the style of Boucher's works and the baroque style of the seventeenth century, Deshays's compositions were appreciated by his contemporaries for their vigor and drama. The tapestry series was woven only three times for the French government, serving as diplomatic gifts to important foreigners. One set remains in the royal palace in Madrid, Spain.