This tapestry is one of six existing Medallion Month tapestries from an original set of presumably twelve. Each has a central vignette of activity pertinent to the month, and this activity is overseen by a classical deity traditionally associated with the month or season. Surrounding each central scene is an oval band with zodiacal signs alternating with the twenty-four hours. The appropriate zodiacal sign is at the top of the oval, and the light and dark shading in the band represents the relative duration of daylight and darkness during the day. In the corners are either deities, personifications, or vignettes related to the particular month. In The Month of April, Flora, the goddess of flowers, oversees an aristocratic couple riding through the countryside where peasants sow grain and till the fields and a couple and child stroll in the pleasant weather. In the upper spandrels of the zodiacal oval, the southerly and easterly winds, Notus and Eolus, are depicted, and a woman weaving a flower crown and a man sowing are in the spandrels below.
Although allegorical representations of the months of the year appear in medieval tapestries, the first known series depicting each month separately, the Trivulzio Months, was woven near Milan during the Renaissance between 1504 and 1512. The second known series, the Medallion Months, of which the Month of April is part, was woven in Brussels around 1525–28. During this period, the production of tapestry designs (cartoons) was an important activity in Brussels under the influence of Bernaert van Orley. The attributed date for these tapestries is based in part on the absence of weavers’ marks in the tapestries’galloons (edges), which were required by the Brussels weavers’ guild after 1528.
Goebel, Heinrich. Wandteppiche 1, pt 1. Berlin: 1933, 164-168 [167 describes what seems to be this April tapestry, said to be in the Collection Lowengard, Paris].
Marillier, H.C. Subject Catalogue of Tapestries. Manuscript. Textile and Costume Department, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, inv. T.37-1946, donated 1946, T.37.AA, p. 49.
Schneebalg-Perelman, Sophie. "Richesses du Garde-Meuble parisien de François Ier: Inventaires inédites de 1542 et 1551." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 78 (1971), 280, fig. 10.
Asselberghs, Jean-Paul. Les tapisseries flamandes aux Etats-Unis d'Amerique. Brussels: 1974, 45.
Standen, Edith Appleton. European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art 1. New York: 1985, 46.
Adelson, Candace J. European Tapestry in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. for The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1994, 82-90, fig. 36.
Martinson, Patricia. "Tapestries in Transition." Arts, Magazine of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (July-August 2005), 16-17, ill.
Bühl, Gudrun, editor. Dumbarton Oaks, The Collections. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (distributed by Harvard University Press), 2008, 332f, ill.
Reportedly in the Lowengard Collection, Paris.
Reportedly in the Stora Collection.
Purchased from French & Co., New York, NY (dealer), (inv. no. 35422), by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, 4/22/1930.
Collection of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, Washington, DC, 4/22/1930-11/29/1940.
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, House Collection, Washington, D.C.