The objective of my research is to explore Medici extravagance, power, and wealth through the multifaceted artistic form of tapestries vis-à-vis two particular tapestry cycles; the Acts of the Apostles and the Valois Fêtes. The cycles were commissioned by Pope Leo X (1475-1521), the first Medici pope, and Catherine de' Medici (1519-1589), queen, queen regent, and queen mother of France. The motivation for such a project lies in analyzing what is traditionally considered as two independent tapestry cycles by revealing their social, religious, political, and artistic significance through the powerful dynastic influence of the Medici. As Leo and Catherine were both aware of the contemporary social environment, their commission of the Acts of the Apostles and the Valois Fêtes exemplify the Medici streak for ambition, familial dependence, and triumphalism. As Leo X (r. 1513-1521) governed from Rome, Catherine de' Medici (r. 1547-1559) presided over the French throne for nearly fifty years in some capacity. Both Medici enjoyed access to the wealth associated with the Papal Curia and Valois royal household accounts, respectively, investing an enormous sum on the tapestry cycles, only one of the numerous artistic commissions procured during the sixteenth century. Heedless of their iconography and embellishment, the Acts of the Apostles and Valois Fêtestestify to the wealth and power wielded through their patron's accessibility and resourcefulness to procure an estimable and luxurious commission.
Zaho, Margaret Ann
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
School of Visual Art and Design
Clyburn, Madison L., "Displays of Medici Wealth and Authority: The Acts of the Apostles and Valois Fêtes Tapestry Cycles" (2019). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 523.