March 17, 2018
Wine and the Arts: a dialogue from Antiquity to the present day
Wine is witness to our social and cultural history. Although The Virtual Wine Museum is primarily focused on painting, many other artistic genres use wine in representations of society. A case in point: this tapestry, showing the harvest.
Tapestry, Southern Netherlands, first quarter of the 16th century - Musée de Cluny, Musée National du Moyen-Âge, Paris
This tapestry shows the different stages of winemaking, from the picking and treading of the grapes to the first tasting of the product. The scenes take place against a floral background, which nonetheless leaves room for a simple representation of a vine and trellis. The atmosphere of this tapestry is relaxed; people of different social classes are shown working side by side. If the grape-treading scene on the right is shown on a conventional mille-fleurs background, the harvest scene on the right is evoked in a much more naturalistic way, alluding to an idealized pastoral landscape (source: Musée du Moyen-Age). The tasting will take place beneath the trellis, where we can see several large goblets. The product to be tested is unfermented grape juice, not wine, but this process is important because it will reveal the quality and ripeness of that year’s grapes. After all, 'you reap what you sow'!