Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Neptune from the "Doria Grotesques"

Designer:
Designed by Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) (Italian, Florence 1501–1547 Rome)
Maker:
Woven by Anonymous Workshop (Flemish)
Date:
designed 1545, woven ca. 1550
Culture:
Flemish, probably Brussels
Medium:
Wool and silk (7-8 warps per cm.)
Dimensions:
Overall: 128 15/16 x 128 15/16 in. (327.5 x 327.5 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 2011
Accession Number:
2011.14
Not on view
Like a classical statue come to life, Neptune, god of the seas, stands with his trident and a dolphin atop a pedestal amid curling plant tendrils, gamboling animals and putti, and elegant swags of drapery. In the cartouche above, Minerva receives a victory palm. This is the only intact version of Neptune from the thrice-woven series of tapestries called the Doria Grotesques. Perino del Vaga designed the eight-piece sequence in about 1545 for the naval commander Andrea Doria to add to the substantial tapestry collection in his glorious palazzo in Fassolo, then just outside the port city of Genoa. The Grotesques, each featuring a different deity, showcase Perino's dexterity in this decorative field, combining respect for antique prototypes with Raphael-inspired Renaissance grace. Neptune, celebrating the mythological figure with whom Doria most identified, was the most significant tapestry in the group. Though designed in Italy, the tapestries were made 500 miles away in the Southern Netherlands, almost certainly in Brussels, where the most celebrated weavers in the world worked. This Neptune is exquisitely woven in wool and silk in a subtle palette, with wonderful hatching and nuanced areas of light and shade that exploit the mediums interplay between trompe l'oeil relief and surface pattern.
Andea Doria ; Palazzo Doria, Genoa, Italy (probably until sale of 1827) ; [ sale, Sotheby's, London , October 16, 1959, lot 82 ] ; [ sale, Sotheby's, London , June 23, 1961, lot 66 ] ; [ Schaeffer Galleries ] ; [ sale, Sotheby's, London , July 1, 1966, lot 10 ] ; [ Antonacci-Efrati, Rome (by 1967) ] ; European collection (until 2010) ; [ sale, Christie's, New York , November 23, 2010, lot 57; sold to MMA ]
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