The Triumph of Fame, from a set of The Triumphs of Petrarch, ca. 1502–4
Flemish (probably Brussels)
Wool and silk tapestry; 11 ft. 7 in. x 11 ft. (3.5 x 3.4 m)
Purchase, The Annenberg Foundation Gift, 1998 (1998.205)
Fame stands reading at a lectern surrounded by writers whose work immortalized the deeds of the ancients. His triumph over death is represented by the three Fates beneath his feet, while above, Atropos, the Fate who cuts the thread of life, appears again, flying toward the mouth of Hell. Below, a rich carpet of plants and flowers—some bearing fruit, some gone to seed—echoes the theme of mortality, while Fame's orb crowned with a cross places the subject in a distinctly Christian context. Based in part on Petrarch's poem I Trionfi, this tapestry is one of six representing the triumphs of Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, and Religion. It corresponds exactly to a piece described in the 1504 inventory of the possessions of Isabel, queen of Castile and Aragon, apparently purchased earlier that year.