Raphael’s Tapestries: The Grotesques of Leo X

Lorraine Karafel

The term ‘grottesche’ was coined in the early C16th to describe Raphael’s fanciful painted decorations in the Vatican. Ornamented with volutes, arabesques and strange hybrid figures derived from Roman interiors such as Nero’s Domus Aurea, woven in gold, silver and silk, the tapestries commissioned by the first Medici pope a decade later are wondrous.

Yale University Press