The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the great treasures of France. Recognised by UNESCO, this monumental work illustrates the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Not only does the tapestry represent a historical account, but it’s also a marvellous showcase of life in the Middle Ages, the embroidered figures like cartoon characters in a fantastic bande dessinée. Nothing is known for certain about the tapestry’s origins; the first written record of the Bayeux Tapestry was in 1476 when it was recorded in the Bayeux cathedral treasury as “a very long and narrow hanging.” Measuring 225 feet, the tapestry is long indeed!
Needless to say, a visit to the Musée Bayeux is an extraordinary experience that’s not to be missed. As we await the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions, we can still ogle this masterpiece. The museum has shown remarkable adaptability in translating its cultural riches for a pandemic-challenged world. In fact, the full Bayeux Tapestry is now accessible on every computer screen and touch pad!
While awaiting the return of the thousands of eyes that habitually admire the oeuvre from behind a wall of glass, the Bayeux Tapestry has entered a new era of mediation for the international public, thanks to the creation of a digital panorama which allows exploration from a computer or a touch pad.
The panorama is a Norman project; it was built from the high resolution photos taken in 2017 outside its window, and recalibrated by teams from the University of Caen Normandie and CNRS. The Internet user has now access to the embroidered canvas in its entirety.
Among the exploration tools available, the zoom function allows you to view the Bayeux Tapestry in extraordinary detail; you can see the embroidered patterns in maximum focus. The side information panel offers translations in French and English of the Latin inscriptions, and a graduated ruler at the bottom of the screen allows you to quickly navigate to a chosen scene.
Bref, this virtual experience provides you with incredible details and expert information to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the Bayeux Tapestry.
Click here to access the incredible panorama.