Neptune from the "Doria Grotesques"

Designed by Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) Italian
Woven by Anonymous Workshop Flemish

Not on view

Like a classical statue come to life, Neptune, god of the seas, stands with his trident and a dolphin atop a pedestal amid curling plant tendrils, gamboling animals and putti, and elegant swags of drapery. In the cartouche above, Minerva receives a victory palm. This is the only intact version of Neptune from the thrice-woven series of tapestries called the Doria Grotesques. Perino del Vaga designed the eight-piece sequence in about 1545 for the naval commander Andrea Doria to add to the substantial tapestry collection in his glorious palazzo in Fassolo, then just outside the port city of Genoa. The Grotesques, each featuring a different deity, showcase Perino's dexterity in this decorative field, combining respect for antique prototypes with Raphael-inspired Renaissance grace. Neptune, celebrating the mythological figure with whom Doria most identified, was the most significant tapestry in the group. Though designed in Italy, the tapestries were made 500 miles away in the Southern Netherlands, almost certainly in Brussels, where the most celebrated weavers in the world worked. This Neptune is exquisitely woven in wool and silk in a subtle palette, with wonderful hatching and nuanced areas of light and shade that exploit the mediums interplay between trompe l'oeil relief and surface pattern.

Neptune from the "Doria Grotesques", Designed by Perino del Vaga (Pietro Buonaccorsi) (Italian, Florence 1501–1547 Rome), Wool and silk (7-8 warps per cm.), Netherlandish, probably Brussels

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.