In this tapestry, we see Marguerite de Valois (the daughter of Catherine de’ Medici) and Henri de Navarre (Marguerite de Valois’ husband) shown on left in three-quarters view. Between the two of them is Charles III, Duke of Lorraine and widower of Claude de Valois (d. 1575) who was the second daughter of Catherine de’ Medici.
The Attack on a Whale tapestry depicts the extravagant banquet given by Catherine de’ Medici on June 24, 1565 on the island of Adour. Since the event, honoring the meeting of the French and Spanish courts, was on an island, guests took an opulent boat in the shape of a castle to reach the festivities. While they were crossing to the island, a water and music performance was given, during which an attack on an artificial whale took place.
After dinner, there was a ballet of nymphs and on the banks of the river, shepherds, an illusion to the French provinces, danced to the sound of the French horn. The overall theme of this event (and its eventual commemoration in tapestry) was peace between France and Spain and Catherine de’ Medici spared no expense to highlight this historic event that happened under her watch.
AN UPDATE ON THE RESTORATION
Photo taken of the newly arrived “Whale” or better ” Fête nautique sur l’Adour” that show the incredible palette of colors of the reverse!