Saint Veronica

Possibly after a design by Bernard van Orley Netherlandish

Not on view

Small-scale devotional tapestries like this one were popular among the most elite collections of Europe. One buying trip for twelve such textiles cost Queen Isabella of Castile the equivalent to ten years of the salary she paid the ship’s master on Christopher Columbus’s transatlantic voyage in 1492. A tapestry comparable in size and subject to this one belonged to Isabella’s granddaughter, the Habsburg Queen Catherine of Portugal. The sixteenth-century appeal of this tapestry lay in the skill of its weavers—who rendered the folds of Veronica’s mantle in silver thread, tackling the challenging effect of watery reflections—and in its compelling design. The life-size Veronica, head overlapping the border, seems to step out of the textile and into our space.

[Elizabeth Cleland, 2017]

Saint Veronica, Possibly after a design by Bernard van Orley (Netherlandish, Brussels ca. 1492–1541/42 Brussels), Wool, silk, gilded silver metal-wrapped threads (18-21 warps per inch, 7-8 per cm.), Netherlandish, probably Brussels

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