PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN GENTLEMAN
In the past, the design for this series was attributed to Bernard van Orley. However, further study has revealed a marked Italian renaissance influence in the works of van Orley works and has shifted the attribution to an artist from the circle of van Orley. The affinity to the works of the Flemish artist and the high quality of the weaving attributes this to a skilled Brussels workshop, even in the absence of a Brussels mark. The two other known editions of this series also do not have the Brussels marks in their borders, indicating all three sets were produced before 1528 when weaving of Brussels mark into every tapestry produced became compulsory.
The Doria Pamphilij edition, was initially thought to be the “editio princeps”, mostly due to the status and fame of their owner. But later scholarship revealed the complex iconography for the oval medallion of the Cardinal Erard de la Marck has more symbolism and are the original commission. It is most likely that Doria ordered these for a particular part of his palace which resulted in a slight difference in dimensions of the two editions and probably resulted in changing the oval medallion to a round and the cherub heads replacing the Zodiac signs and women with hourglasses. The series was passed on to the descendants of Andrea Dora Pamphilij and are those recorded in different places; this offered tapestry was sold at auction by the family in 1967. Three tapestries from the set, comprising of the months of January, February and August, are owned by Prince Filippo Doria Pamphilij and are displayed in the Villa del Principe (Palazzo di Andrea Doria) in Genoa. The month of October is in Palazzo Pallavicini in Genoa and another two are displayed in the Villa Spalletti Trivella, a hotel in Rome. The month of 'December' from this series was sold at Christies, London, 15 November 2001, lot 250. All six of these tapestries have the distinctive round bands with cherub head on a pale blue ground, as opposed to all of the signs of the Zodiac, found on other series.
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