55
55
`Vertumnus in disguise as a fruit pruner', A Flemish Mythological Tapestry, from The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona, Brussels, workshop of Jacob I Geubels and Jan I Raes, from Ovid's Metamorphoses (Book XIV: 623-771)

first quarter 17th century

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55
`Vertumnus in disguise as a fruit pruner', A Flemish Mythological Tapestry, from The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona, Brussels, workshop of Jacob I Geubels and Jan I Raes, from Ovid's Metamorphoses (Book XIV: 623-771)

first quarter 17th century

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`Vertumnus in disguise as a fruit pruner', A Flemish Mythological Tapestry, from The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona, Brussels, workshop of Jacob I Geubels and Jan I Raes, from Ovid's Metamorphoses (Book XIV: 623-771)

first quarter 17th century

depicting Vertumnus in disguise as a fruit pruner and Pomona, set within an elaborate marbled and columned portico setting, with detailed trellis work overhead, and formal gardens extending into the distance, within a deep elaborate architectural four sided border with strapwork corners centred with masks and bearded figures, the centre of the lower border with a scallop-shell centred with lion head, flanked by dolphins, with narrow blue selvedge with silver-thread ribbed detail, with the Brussels BB town mark, the weaver's name IAC GEVBELS, and Geubels weaver's mark


approximately 365cm high, 605cm wide; 11ft. 11in., 19ft. 10in.
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Catalogue Note

The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona is told in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book XIV:623-771). Pomona, the goddess of fruitful abundance, and her attribute is the pruning knife. She is recorded to have scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus and Picus, and eventually marries Vertumnus, after he has pursued her in many guises, including that of a pruner, harvester, reaper, farmer, gardener, warrior, fisherman and as an old woman, before he finally reveals his true identity and embraces Pomona. The tapestries depicted each of these scenes and later in the 17th century included an additional panel of Vertumnus disguised as a pedlar'.

The renowned Mythological tapestry series from the Story of Vertumnus and Pomona, was first woven as nine panels before 1548 for Mary of Hungary by an unidentified Brussels workshop, and then by the Brussels workshop of Willem de Pannemaker, for King Philip II of Spain. Four contemporary sets are recorded of which a complete set is in Vienna, and three sets are in Madrid (See Catàlogo de Tapices del Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1986, Vol. I, Siglo XVI, Serie 16-17, pp105-122 for illustrations of the Spanish owned series). The Vienna set is the most complete set of the original series recorded (Austrian State Collection, Vienna), see Ludwig Baldass, Die Wiener Gobelinssammlung, 1920, pls146-154). They were particularly important tapestries, finely woven and including silk, wool and metal threads.

An influential Antwerp merchant Joris Vezeleer was very influential in the tapestry trade, which operated it the 16th century out of Antwerp, with the weaving taking place in Brussels workshops. Vezeleer commissioned tapestries directly from merchant weavers, but also commissioned cartoons which included those for a set of `Vertumnus and Pomona tapestries' in 1565. The names of several artists have been proposed as cartoonists for the original series, including Jan Vermeyen, Josse van Noevele, Leonard Thiry and Pieter Coecke van Aelst. Through parallels with designs for the tapestries of the Conquest of Tunis series of tapestries, it is considered likely that Pieter Coecke van Aelst (b.1450-d.1533; Most important Brussels workshop) was the author of the original designs of this mythological series. The series of the `Conquest of Tunis', `Story of the Creation' and the `Vertumnus and Pomona' series of tapestries from mid to late 1540's,  show similarities of design and figural type and are considered to have and influenced a group of five tapestry panels acquired for Prince Philip of Spain in 1556, known as the `Poesia,'. These tapestries depicted scenes from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and included the subjects of Perseus liberating Andromeda, Fall of Icarus, Rape of Ganymede, Apollo and Marsyas and the Sacrifice of Polyxena, for  which documentation records that they were woven and signed by Willem de Pannemaker, after designs and cartoons attributed to Pieter Coecke van Aelst. The designs reflect the Northern adaption of the Italian classical style and the elegant ideal of the human form, epitomised in the tapestry designs of van Aelst. The landscapes are likely to have been details of the designs which were executed by assistants.

The cartoons of this series inspired reweavings by other workshops at the beginning of the 17th century. Marteen II Reymbouts workshop delivered three sets to Archdukes Albert and Isabella, in Brussels, in 1611 and 1614, and recorded sets bear his weaver's mark. The workshops of Jan I Raes (1574-1651) and Jacob Geubels collaborated over commissions from 1600 onwards. There were notable differences between the panels of the later weavings, to the porticos, garden landscaping and the style of caryatids, with motifs from one panel appearing in the background of different panels, in different weavings of the series. The inspiration for the landscapes in Flemish tapestries being the detailed engravings of buildings and formal gardens by Hans Vredeman de Vries, Small Architectural Perspective Views, Antwerp, 1562.

Workshop of Jan I Raes (1574-1651) was one of the most important in Brussels during the first third of the seventeenth century. It produced the first series after Peter Paul Rubens, of The Decius Mus (1616-1618), which has the same border type as the present Vertumnus and Pomona set, and bears their weaver's marks. Others pieces being in museums in Detroit and Lille (see André van den Kerkhove, Brussels Vertumnus en Pomona legwerk uit het begin van de XVIIe eeuw', 1969-1972, pp.166-170). Jan II Raes took over the workshop from 1629 until his death in 1629, when Jan I took control until his death in 1651.  Jacob I Geubels is the second weaver involved with the Vertumnus and Pomona series in the 17th century, and his monogram was used by his widow, Katharina van Eynde, after his death in 1605, and until at least 1620, which helps date pieces by these joined workshops to the first quarter of the 17th century.

Increasing number of designs, old and new, being utilised by the Brussels workshops during the early 1610's reflects the renewed strength and prosperity of the industry. Nine leading merchants of Brussels at the time were Maarten Reymbouts, Jan Mattens, Jan Raes II, Catherine van den Eynde, Cornelis Tserraerts, Nicasius Aerts, Peter de Goddere, Frans Tons and Gerard Bernaerts. The petitioned by legislative steps for `privilege status' for the masters and journeymen in the city. They employed more than six hundred weavers between them and having made considerable financial investment purchasing new tapestry cartoons. The merchants argument was that Brussels had historic precedence as a centre of tapestry excellence; "Seeing that this noble art is useful and indispensable for all lords, princes and potentates of the world, and that the tapestries made in this city since living memory have, in the opinion of impartial judges and lovers of art, always had and maintained their value above all others." (See Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestry, London, 1999).

During this period Maarten Reymbouts produced two sets of Galleries with Vertumnus and Pomona (1611 and 1614). A set of Vertumnus and Pomona tapestries, woven from cartoons that were copied from mid 16th century designs survive in Brussels (Musée du Cinquantenaire) and Boston (Museum of Fine Art).

Comparable tapestries for design composition: The Madrid series woven in the 16th century

Paulina Junquera de Vega, Concha Herrero Carretero, Catàlogo de Tapices del Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1986, Vol. I, Siglio XVI;

Serie 16: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño I-VIII, pp.105-115; Oro, plata, seda, lana, Bruselas, manufactura de Guillermo de Pannemaker, (1550); Vertumno transformado en sagador, Vertumno transformado en agricultor, Vertumno transformado en podador, Vertumno transformado en guerrero, Vertumno transformado en pescador, Vertumno transformado en anciana, Vertumno besa a Pomona and Vertumno se descubre ante Pomona; Brussels, workshop of Willem de Pannemaker, circa 1550, wool, silk, gold and metal threads, within elaborate frame pattern architectural borders incorporating strapwork corner and side motifs with laurel wreaths and medallions enclosing classical scenes, the frame border comprised of various style bands including widest band of acanthus motifs against a blue ground, which is the same as the border type on the earlier series woven circa 1545 (Series 18; Patrimonio Nacional), some of the panels include Latin narrative inscriptions within blue ground entablature centre of the top borders, and in one panel, Vertumnus disguised as a reaper (Vertumno transformado en sagador), text also appears within the lower foreground of the tapestry.

Serie 17: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño I-VI, pp.116-122; Oro, plata, seda, lana, Bruselas, manufactura de Guillermo de Pannemaker, (1560); Vertumno transformado en agricultor, Vertumno transformado en labrador, Vertumno transformado en podador, Vertumno transformado en jardinero, Vertumno transformado en anciana and Vertumno se descubre ante Pomona; Brussels, workshop of Willem de Pannemaker, circa 1560, wool, silk, gold and metal threads, within elaborate frame pattern architectural borders incorporating strapwork corner and side motifs with laurel wreaths and medallions enclosing classical scenes, the frame border comprised of various style bands including widest band differing from the earlier Pannemaker series of 1550, in not having acanthus motifs, but having an interlocking leaf and strapwork design against a blue ground, all the panels in this series include Latin narrative text within blue ground entablature centre of the top borders.   One of the series of early weavings from the Pannemaker series, then attributed to modello by Jan Vermeyen, with cartoons by Joos van Noevele, circa 1560, see the panel depicting Vertumnus as a farmer, illustrated in Guy Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestries, London, 1999, Chp. II The Renaissance, pp.65-207, The golden days of the Flemish Renaissance in Brussels tapestries pp.119-141, Vertumnus and Pomona: Vertumnus as a farm worker, colour plate, pg.130, which is one of the panels from Madrid Collection (Serie 17: Paño I, Vertumno transformado en agricultor; Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid).

A panel of `Vertumnus as a gardener', is also illustrated in Göbel, Heinrich, Die Wandteppiche, 1923, Part I, Vol.ii.fig.105., Vertumnus und Pomona, der Gott als Obstpflücker (Austrian State Property). It is very similar in composition and size to the panel of the same subject from Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional (Serie 17; Paño IV, pg.120). Both with Latin inscription: LECTVRV HIC POMA PVTARES. 

Serie 18: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño I-VIII, pp.123- 133; Oro, plata, seda, lana, Bruselas, monograma de Georg Wezeler  (1545); Vertumno transformado en sagador, Vertumno transformado en agricultor, Vertumno transformado en labrador, Vertumno transformado en podador, Vertumno transformado en jardinero, Vertumno transformado en guerrero, Vertumno transformado en pescador and Vertumno se descubre ante Pomona; Brussels, (workshop of Willem de Pannemaker), designs Joris Wezeleer, circa 1545, wool, silk, gold and metal threads, within elaborate frame pattern architectural borders incorporating strapwork corners and side motifs with laurel wreaths and medallions enclosing classical scenes, the frame border comprised of various style bands including widest band of acanthus motifs against a golden ground, which is the same as the border type on the earlier series woven circa 1545 (Series 18; Patrimonio Nacional), only four from this combined group of panels have borders, and they include Latin narrative text within golden ground entablature centre of the top borders. The other panels are of various sizes and all without borders.

Identical border type to the present panels offered as lots 55-58:

A recorded tapestry from this series within an identical border type, depicting `Vertumnus as a fruit picker' (approx. 350cm. high, 380cm. wide), is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille. It is woven with the figures of Vertumus and Pomona quite close together in the centre of the composition. The design has a less ornate architectural surround, simpler terrace design strewn with plants, and small animals and not the marble flooring. It has an overhead superstructure of shelves draped with foliage held up by four simple term figures, and incorporates detailed formal background gardens. It is attributed to designs by Jan Cornelis Vermeyen,  early 17th century (illustrated, Jacqueline Boccara, Ames de laine et de soie, Édition d'art Monelle Hayot, 1988, Chp. Parcs et Jardin, pp.246-287, Vertumne et Pomone, pp.248-251, colour plate pg. 251.

Another tapestry series woven by the workshop of Jacob Geubels and his wife Katharina van den Eynde, has the identical border type to that of the present set of four mythological tapestries from the series of `Vertumnus and Pomona'. The comparable series is from The Classical Story of Decius Mus, and the panels have the same striations to the original blue selvedge and bear the weaver's marks. See Paulina Junquera de Vega, Concha Herrero Carretero, Catàlogo de Tapices del Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1986, Vol. II, Siglio XVII, Serie 53, Paño I-V, pp.98-103.   Interestingly the placement of the figures in this panel correspond with those in the original early Pannemaker weavings from the Patrimonio Nacional Madrid, albeit with notable differences between the panels in to the porticos, garden landscaping and the style of caryatids. The distinctive superstructure with elaborate scrolls is comparable. There are differences to the arrangements of the limbs and variations in the orientation of both figures, and Pomona in the present panel holds flowers in addition to her attribute of the pruning knife.   For comparable panels see Paulina Junquera de Vega, Concha Herrero Carretero, Catàlogo de Tapices del Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1986, Vol. I, Siglio XVI; Serie 16: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño III, pg.110, Vertumno transformado en podador, for complete panel with border, without the flanking vases of flowers depicted in the offered panel; Serie 17: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño III, pg.119, Vertumno transformado en podador, for complete panel with alternative variation of border type, similar to the above complete panel, only this panel is reduced and does not have the flanking female caryatids, which are also present in the offered panel; Serie 18: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño IV, pg.128, Vertumno transformado en podador, which is very similar in composition although without the flanking vases of flowers. This panel incorporates the far side supporting female caryatid supports.

Literature:

Adelson, Candace, European Tapestry in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1994.

Baldass, Ludwig, Die Wiener Gobelinssammlung, 1920, pls.146-154. Vienna series of the complete set of The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona.

Boccara, Jacqueline, Ames de laine et de soie, Édition d'art Monelle Hayot, 1988, Chp. Parcs et Jardin, pp.246-287, Vertumne et Pomone, pp.248-251, colour plate pg. 251.

Carretero, José A. Godoy, Resplendence of the Spanish Monarchy, Renaissance Tapestries and Armor from the Patrimonio Nacional, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Exhibition October 11th, 1991 – January 5, 1992, Exhibition Catalogue, Abrams, NY, 1991, Concha Herrero Carretero Renaissance Tapestries from the Patrimonio Nacional, pp.25-94, Vertumnus and Pomona, pp.89-94. 

Campbell, Thomas, Tapestry in the Renaissance, Art and Magnificence, Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition, March-June 2002, Yale University Press 2002, Story of Vertumnus and Pomona series (design attributed to Pieter Coecke van Aelst) (woven in the workshop of Willem de Pannemaker, Brussels), pg.590; and `Vertumnus Disguised as an apple picker', (Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real de Madrid) pg.391, fig.182.

Campbell, Thomas, Tapestry in the Baroque, Threads of Splendour, Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition, New York, October 17, 2007-January 6, 2008; and at the Palacio Real, Madrid, March 6-June 1, 2007, Yale University Press 2002;

Story of Vertumnus and Pomona (c.1610) (from second generation cartoons based on originals by Pieter Coecke van Aelst) – possibly woven by Reymbouts, Brussels – from collections in Brussels and Boston); Vertumnus disguised as a fisherman (Boston), 71, 73; fig. 41., and Story of Vertumnus and Pomona; Vertumnus disguised as a haymaker, from designs by Pieter Coecke van Aelst, woven in workshop of Willem de Pannemaker, Brussels, circa 1545-50 (Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real de Madrid) pp.8-9, fig. 11.

Adolph, Cavallo, Tapestries of Europe and Colonial Peru in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1967, Vol. I text, Part III – 1550-1700: Brussels, Enghien, Grammont, Paris, Germany, Denmark & Holland (catalogue numbers 27-43), pp-105-143, No. 32 Vertumnus disguised as a fisherman, pp.115-118; Vol II, colour plate 32.

Crick Kuntziger, Marthe, Musée Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire de Bruxelles Catalogue des Tapisseries, circa 1954, Vertumne et Pomone, no. 50, pp.56-57, pl.57.

Guy Delmarcel,  Nicole de Reyniès & Wendy Hefford, The Toms Collection Tapestries– 16th to 19th centuries, Ed. Giselle Eberhard Cotton, Foundation Toms Pauli, Lausanne, Verlag Niggli AG, Zurich, 2010, Chp. I: The Flemish Tapestries, Guy Delmarcel, Tapestries from the series The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona, Cat.23-24, pp.72-78, fig.23.2.

Delmarcel, Guy, Flemish Tapestries, London, 1999, Chp. II The Renaissance, pp.65-207, The golden days of the Flemish Renaissance in Brussels tapestries pp.119-141, Vertumnus and Pomona: Vertumnus as a Farm Worker, colour plate, pg.130. (which is one of the panels from Madrid Collection (Serie 17: Paño I, Vertumno transformado en agricultor; Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid).

Göbel, Heinrich, Die Wandteppiche, 1923, Part I, Vol.ii.figs.103-105.

van den Kerkhove, André, Brussels Vertumnus en Pomona legwerk uit het begin van de XVIIe eeuw', 1969-1972.

Paulina Junquera de Vega, Concha Herrero Carretero, Catàlogo de Tapices del Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1986, Vol. I, Siglio XVI; Serie 16: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño I-VIII, pp.105-115;  Serie 17: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño I-VI, pp.116-122; Serie 18: Vertumno y Pomona, Paño I-VIII, pp.123- 133; discussion and colour images of each subject panel and variation of border type on the original 16th century series.    

Important Furniture, Ceramics, Clocks, Tapestries, Silver & Vertu

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