Tales to Tell: The Story of the Psyche Tapestries at the Wadsworth Atheneum

November 17, 2023–January 7, 2024

Symbols of power, wealth, and education, tapestries were some of the highest forms of artwork made in Europe during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Skilled artisans in only a handful of specialized workshops created these masterpieces, which were woven on large looms from painted designs. Decorating the walls of elite homes and royal residences, tapestry scenes included mythological, biblical, historical, and allegorical subjects to delight, educate, and inspire residents and guests.

See a rare set of five tapestries depicting scenes from the story of Psyche. Originally part of a
larger set, they were woven in France during the seventeenth century. Based on a second-century tale, the lessons of this allegory touch on a range of human emotions, including love, loss, jealousy, and confusion; feelings as relevant today as they were some 350 years ago.

Related Programs

November 19 | Curator Talk: Psyche Tapestries with Ned Lazaro

Unidentified workshop (French, Paris), The Old Woman Tells the Story of Psyche, c. 1660. Wool, silk, gold thread. Gift of Mrs. N. Clarkson Earl