Scenes from the Life of the Virgin

ca. 1500
Made in Strasbourg, Alsace, present-day France
Upper Rhenish
Linen warp; wool, linen, silk, silver, and gilt wefts; wool pile yarns
41 x 138 in. (104.1 x 350.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Charles F. Iklé, 1957
Accession Number:
Not on view
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the focus of intense veneration in the late Middle Ages. Possibly created as an altar frontal, this hanging depicts scenes from her life: her Birth, the Annunciation, the Visitation with her cousin Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), the Nativity of Jesus, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and her Coronation by the Trinity. At the top, two angels hold the vera icon, an image of the imprint of Christ’s face believed to have been miraculously imprinted on the veil of Saint Veronica as Jesus was led to his Crucifixion.
Franz-Joseph von Lipperheide (sold 1909) ; his sale, Galerie Helbing, Munich (October 25-30, 1909, no. 2619) ; Leopold Iklé, St. Gall, Switzerland (sold 1923) ; his sale, Zunfthaus zur Meise, Zurich (September 18 and following days, 1923, no. 784) ; Charles F. Iklé 1879–1963, Saint Gall, Switzerland (until 1957)
Ostoia, Vera K. "A Tapestry Altar Frontal with Scenes from the Life of the Virgin." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 24, no. 10 (June 1966). pp. 287-303, fig. 1,2,6,9,11,13,15.

Cavallo, Adolfo S. Medieval Tapestries in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 61, pp. 657-663.

Metzger, Christof. "When Pictures Began to Travel: The Role of Prints in the Transmission of Images." In Van Eyck to Dürer: Early Netherlandish Painting and Central Europe 1430-1530, edited by Till-Holger Borchert. Tielt, BE, 2010. pp. 106-8, fig. 110.