Month of May: Scene of May Day Festival

(France, Paris, est. 1662)
(French, 1701–1771)
Overall: 2841.9 x 454.3 cm (1118 7/8 x 178 7/8 in.)
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share


Seated spectators and splendidly clothed ladies and gentlemen on horseback watch May Day festivities in this tapestry. In the middle distance, archers prepare to shoot at a bush and bird placed atop a maypole, while more spectators congregate in the receding landscape. A border of rolled acanthus leaves and flower garlands frames the scene. This scene is one of twelve so-called Months of Lucas tapestries, each depicting activities that coincide with a month of the year.

The original “Months of Lucas” was a sixteenth-century Flemish tapestry set that was owned by the French monarchy and mistakenly attributed to Lucas van Leyden during the 1600s. To this day, they continue to be known as the “Months of Lucas.” This original set was burned in 1797 so their gold and silver metal threads could be used to replenish the depleted French coffers.

Beginning in the 1600s, the popular Months of Lucas were reproduced in several different versions under various masters at the Gobelins Manufactory in Paris, the famous royal production center for French tapestries since Louis XIV (1638–1715). The lower right hand corner of this tapestry bears the signature of Michel Audran (1701–1771), director of the Gobelins high-warp loom workshop from 1732–71, who produced this tapestry for a private patron in addition to the other royal commissions of the set.
Month of May: Scene of May Day Festival

Month of May: Scene of May Day Festival


Gobelins Manufactory, Michel Audran

(France, Paris, est. 1662), (French, 1701–1771)
France, 18th century, Period of Louis XV (1723-1774)

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.