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The Crucifixion

Designer:
Design attributed to Bernard van Orley (Netherlandish, Brussels ca. 1492–1541/42 Brussels)
Workshop director:
Pieter van Aelst the Younger (Flemish, active 1509–55) , probably; or
Workshop director:
Pieter de Pannemaker (Netherlandish, active 1517–1535) , possibly
Date:
design ca. 1515, woven ca. 1525
Culture:
Flemish, Brussels
Medium:
Wool, silk, silver thread, silver-gilt thread (20-21 warps per inch, 7-8 per cm.)
Dimensions:
Overall (confirmed 11/13/07): 98 1/2 x 100 3/4 in. (250.2 x 255.9 cm) Overall (unknown date): 99 x 98 in. (251.5 x 248.9 cm) Slat: 100” x 3 ½” x 1” with Velcro/webbing, security straps
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Bequest of George Blumenthal, 1941
Accession Number:
41.190.136
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 520
With the crucified Christ anchoring the composition, a host of angels fills a turbulent sky, holding the symbols of the Passion. Below, John the Evangelist strides in from the left; at the right, Mary Magdalene, richly-dressed fitting to the popular perception of her as a reformed courtesan, elegantly crumples forward with hand-wringing grief. Also weeping, the Virgin Mary gazes up at her son, and a third holy woman, possibly Mary of Cleophas, embraces the cross. The painterly detail of the tapestry’s design extends to the minutely observed background landscape, in which the bracketing episodes of the carrying of the cross and the entombment can be glimpsed flanking the central scene. To this, the virtuoso tapestry-weavers, clearly at the pinnacle of their profession, have brought a material sumptuousness which would have glimmered in the candlelight and which serve to rank this tapestry amongst the richest survivals of the period.
Inscription: I.N.R.I (reversed)
S.A. le duc de Berwick et d'Albe, 8th Duke of Berwick and the 15th of Alba (until 1877) ; [ Collection of S.A. le duc de Berwick et d'Albe, Hôtel Drouot , April 7–20, 1877, no. 3 ] ; Baron Erlanger (before 1880) ; Charles T. Barney ; George and Florence Blumenthal , New York (before 1909–41)
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