Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 14 May |
The Feast of Saint Matthias
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Finding Faith: Greek myths and Catholic motifs are woven together

tapestry; three fates

Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Lucien de Guise - published on 03/22/20

This tapestry from the Netherlands contains clues that the Catholic world borrowed from the Classical world.

A series that looks at the visual arts for signs of the universal Church in sometimes unexpected places.
Photo by Lucien de Guise, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Christian artists have often turned to the classical world for inspiration. This tapestry was made in what is now the Netherlands, on the eve of explosive hostilities between Catholics and Protestants. The weaver picked a fairly neutral subject: the Three Fates of ancient Greece. These three women determined our destiny by spinning, measuring and then snipping the thread of life. There are clues that the mythology was seen from a Catholic perspective as it commemorates the work of the Italian poet Petrarch, a bringer-together of the Classical and Catholic worlds who later inspired the great Dutch theologian Erasmus. There is also a Catholic-looking rosary hanging from the belt of the Fate who cuts the thread of life. Lying dead at their feet is a figure representing Chastity, whose time was clearly up circa 1520.

three fates; tapestry
Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Lucien de Guise is on Instagram @crossxcultural. As a Catholic writer, editor, curator and former museum director, his aim is to build bridges through art.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
Bret Thoman, OFS
A pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Catherine of Siena
J-P Mauro
We need better church music, say Catholics in the Philippines
Philip Kosloski
What happened between the resurrection and ascension of Jesus?
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
A hint of the mystery of God’s love
Philip Kosloski
Why is Mary depicted standing on a snake?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.