The Raphael tapestries in Mantua

The nine tapestries with the Stories of Saint Peter and Saint Paul were woven in Brussels around 1550 after the cartoons that Raphael created for Pope Leo X for a set of tapestries to be hung in the Sistine Chapel. These models remained in Brussels and were used to wave other sets, like the one in Mantua, that was bought by cardinal Ercole Gonzaga in order to decorate the Cathedral first and then the Basilica of Santa Barbara, as expressed in his will (1563). The tapestries were used to decorate this church during the main liturgical celebrations for more then two centuries.

The marks in the selvedge, that is the blue borders of the tapestries, allow us to identify the weavers: Jan van Tieghem, Frans Ghieteels and the so-called “Master of the Geometric Mark”.



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