Authors don’t just tell stories, artist do too. Artists choose stories as their subject matter – from historical events, to imaginary tales, myths, legends and fables, to real life things that happened in people’s lives. Here are two works of art from our Touch to see collection that tell stories.
Do you know about 1066 and all that? The story of the Battle of Hastings is told in a piece of needlework called the Bayeux Tapestry. This incredible 70 metre long piece of hand-sewn embroidery uses just 8 coloured woollen threads. In its 72 scenes featuring 623 people the story is told in pictures, not only of the battle, but of the events which led up to it. It shows why William should be King of England, the preparations he had to make, like the building of ships and collecting of supplies and equipment, how he crossed the English Channel and what he and his army of Norman knights did once they had landed on English shores. We’ve created tactile pictures and audio guides of several scenes from the tapestry. The image below is of one of the final scenes of the tapestry and shows the death of King Harold. Near the end of the battle William, ordered his archers to fire their arrows high up into the air, sending a deadly rain of missiles down on the Saxons behind the shield wall. This tactic caused many casualties and one of these was Harold himself. One of the arrows came down and struck King Harold in the right eye.
The Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David
This picture shows the three Roman Horatii brothers standing before their father, their right arms are raised as they swear to fight to the death to defend Rome. Their father, facing them in the centre of the picture, raises both his arms as he administers the oath. In his left hand he holds up the three swords which his sons must use as they go out to slay the enemy. On the right-hand-side are three seated women looking full of grief and as if all hope is lost. They are the mother and the two sisters of the Horatii. Two are leaning together as if to comfort one another, while a more shadowy figure behind them cradles her two children protectively in her arms. If you borrow this tactile and audio guide you will discover that it tells the story of the deeply intense feelings of all the characters it portrays.
This tactile picture and audio guide is in Picture This for 14 years +.