The long horizontal format of this tapestry suggests that it was originally conceived for a church altar. It presents Jesus’ followers gathered around his body, a subject especially appropriate for an altar. The figures – men and women, old and young – are remarkable for their individuality. They press closely against the picture plane. Mary cradles her son gently in her arms, while John the Evangelist, the young man with golden locks behind Jesus, reaches up to touch her forehead, trying to comfort her. Mary Magdalene, grieving over the body, clasps her hands together as she kneels by Jesus’ feet. The colors throughout this tapestry, which range from pastel to intense tones, are still rich and bright.
James A. Garland(until 1909); his sale, American Art Association, New York (March 19-20, 1909, no. 127); George and Florence Blumenthal, Paris and New York (1909–1941)
Illustrated catalogue of the very valuable art property belonging to the estate of the well-known connoisseur, the late James A. Garland. New York: American Art Association, March 19–20, 1909. no. 127, ill.
Hunter, George Leland. The Practical Book of Tapestries. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1925. p. 124.
Rubinstein-Bloch, Stella. Catalogue of the Collection of George and Florence Blumenthal, New York: Volume 4, Tapestries and Furniture, Mediaeval and Renaissance. Paris: A. Lévy, 1927. pl. XII.
Loan Exhibition of Religious Art for the Benefit of the Basilique of the Sacré-Cœur of Paris, at the galleries of Jacques Seligmann & Company, Inc., March-April 1927. New York: Jacques Seligmann & Co., 1928. pl. XII.
Patterson, Augusta Owen. "Furniture in the Blumenthal Collection." The International Studio 97 (November 1930). p. 45.
"European Art, 1450-1500: Painting, Tapestries, Sculpture and Objects of Art Lent to Brooklyn." Art News 34 (May 16, 1936). p. 6.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Masterpieces in the Collection of George Blumenthal: A Special Exhibition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1943. no. 27.
Rorimer, James J. Mediaeval Tapestries: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1947. fig. 20.
Cavallo, Adolfo S. Medieval Tapestries in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 17, pp. 278-284, fig. 115-116.
Cleland, Elizabeth. "Collecting Sixteenth-Century Tapestries in Twentieth-Century America: The Blumenthals and Jacques Seligmann." Metropolitan Museum Journal 50 (2015). p. 150.