Head of the Virgin (Mater Dolorosa)
Woven under the direction Pietro Ferloni Italian
Woven at the San Michele
Designer Guido Reni Italian
Not on view
This tapestry is not a fragment, but is instead a small, devotional work. The representation is based on a painted prototype by Guido Reni, of which the most important iteration is in Rome’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica (Palazzo Corsini), perpetuated in many derivative paintings.
The tapestry is attributed to weavers working in Rome at the San Michele manufactory, which had been founded in 1710 by Pope Clement XI to complement the wool and dyeing workshops at the orphanage of San Michele a Ripa. It is part of a large group of technically proficient tapestries, many made as diplomatic gifts, modelled after paintings in the Vatican collection; with the exception of a handful of more sophisticated tapestry series (like Gerusalemme Liberata, four pieces of which are also in The Met’s collection), these woven copies comprised the main activity of the San Michele weavers, alongside repair and restoration of older northern European tapestries in the papal collection.