Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Scenes from the Life of the Virgin

ca. 1490–1510
South Netherlandish
Wool warp, wool, silk, and metallic wefts
Overall: 86 3/4 x 82in. (220.3 x 208.3cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
Not on view
Divided into five compartments separated by structural elements including columns, this tapestry depicts scenes from the life of the Virgin. Beginning in the upper left corner is the Presentation of the young Mary in the Temple, followed by the Visitation in the upper right corner. These scenes flank a central pentagonal compartment representing the Assumption of the Virgin to Heaven. The two lower registers show the Annunciation at the left and the Adoration of the Magi at the right. The tapestry's border contains scattered branches with rose blossoms alternating with daisy stalks and grapevines.

The relatively small size of the tapestry and the fact that the scenes do not conform to the chronology of Mary's life suggest that the tapestry was designed to hang alone as a dossal behind an altar.
Benjamin Altman, New York
Göbel, Heinrich. Wandteppiche. 1. Teil, Die Niederlande. Vol. 1. Leipzig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1923. pp. 76, 411, ill. vol II fig. 58.

Cavallo, Adolfo S. Medieval Tapestries in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 18, pp. 285-291, fig. 117-118.

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