See a Tapestry Commissioned to Celebrate the Paris Summer Olympics

Designed by artist Marjane Satrapi, the enormous triptych depicts athletes competing around the Eiffel Tower

Full Olympic triptych
The three-panel artwork depicts a javelin thrower, a skateboarder and a break dancer. Bertrand Guay / AFP via Getty Images

French-Iranian artist Marjane Satrapi has unveiled a nearly 30-foot long tapestry commissioned to mark the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Satrapi—known best for her graphic novel Persepolis—debuted the finished tapestry at the Mobilier National, a public organization that preserves France’s state furniture and textile collections, on March 12. The impressive work of art is a triptych crafted from wool yarn. It weighs about 130 pounds.

The tapestry’s three panels feature brightly colored silhouettes of athletes competing in various sports around the Eiffel Tower.

On the left, a woman participates in the traditional javelin throw. On the right, a skateboarder performs a trick in the air above a break dancer, alluding to two of the newest sports in the Olympics’ lineup. The central panel depicts a man and a woman gracefully lunging toward each other, their hands poised to meet in front of the Olympic flame.

Marjane Satrapi and the Olympic triptych
Graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi poses in front a tapestry she designed in honor of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Bertrand Guay / AFP via Getty Images

The Olympic Games begin in Paris on July 26. To celebrate the international sporting event, the French capital is highlighting the Olympics’ cultural impact in a variety of ways. An upcoming exhibition at the Louvre, for instance, will be dedicated to the art and history of the Olympics. Additionally, this year’s gold, silver and bronze medals will feature iron fragments from the Eiffel Tower.

Satrapi says she received the commission for the tapestry over the phone.

“When I got the call, I thought it was a hoax, but it wasn’t,” she tells Reuters’ Vincent Daheron and Julien Pretot. “I was very delighted, very honored, very happy, but also very stressed.”

The tapestry took Satrapi three years to create. Artisans at the Gobelins Manufactory, a French tapestry factory administered by the Mobilier National, wove the triptych. The historic factory has been around since the 17th century and at one point made textiles for Louis XIV.

“We were looking for an artist with a highly visual style of expression, who also conveys in her thinking, her discourse, the values of universalism on the one hand, and French values on the other,” says Hervé Lemoine, director of the Mobilier National, per Le Monde’s Sylvie Kerviel.

Persepolis | Official Trailer (2007)

The tapestry will be exhibited at the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris beginning on June 21. After the Olympic and Paralympic Games end in September, the tapestry will travel to Nice.

Persepolis, an autobiographical coming-of-age story about Satrapi’s childhood in Tehran during and after the Iranian Revolution, was published in four French-language volumes between 2000 and 2003. In 2007, Satrapi and filmmaker Vincent Paronnaud adapted the popular graphic novel into an animated film, which received an Academy Award nomination.

The 54-year-old author left Iran in her 20s and moved to Paris, where she still lives today.

“I’m finally considered French!” she told reporters after unveiling the triptych’s first panel in March 2023, per Le Monde’s Anaïs Coignac.

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