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Hercules Founding the Olympic Games on Mount Olympus

Wool and silk tapestry 'Hercules and his Companions on Mount Olympus', Flemish, 1465–70

Wool and silk tapestry 'Hercules and his Companions on Mount Olympus', Flemish, 1465–70

Tapestry woven with wool and silk wefts and wool warps depicting Hercules Founding the Olympic Games on Mount Olympus. ‘Hercules’ in blue armour astride a dappled horse with ‘Orchias’ (Orithyia), Queen of the Amazons, right in a crown and green voided velvet, her horse in blue velvet cloth-of-gold and her daughters or sisters ‘Ipolite’ (Hippolyta) and ‘Menalipe’ (Menalippe) together with other aristocratic ladies and gentlemen, including ‘Theseus’ possibly playing a form of behorde. Set in a landscape with Mount ‘Olimppe’ (Olympus) in the background with ‘Hic gerrches [originally Hercules] cu[m] sociis a dolore cor separant ad ludos olimpiadis inchoandos na[m] se parant’ (‘Here Hercules and his companions separate with sad heart, in order to prepare themselves for the Olympic games now beginning’).

A possible companion piece that depicts the Amazons Preparing for a Joust is in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

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