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Scenes from the Life of Christ, from The Life of Christ and Virgin series
Scenes from the Life of Christ, from The Life of Christ and Virgin series
ca. 1510
Not on display
Wool, Silk; Tapestry Weave
178 x 610 cm (70 1/16 x 240 3/16 in.)
Object Type:

Edouard Allez, 1904
Dario Boccara (sale 30 March 1963, Palais Galliera, no. 127)

Accession Number:
Acquisition Date:
Credit Line:

Museum purchase, Gift of George D. Smith, Archer M. Huntington and Charles de Bretteville, by Exchange and Roscoe and Margaret Oakes Income Fund

Exhibition History:

Gobelins Manufactory, 1928
Five Centuries of Tapestry, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 1976
A Collection Rediscovered: European Tapestries, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, 1992
Gallery 1 Rotation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 2/04 - 5/06

As early as the twelfth century a type of long, narrow tapestry had evolved for decorating the choirs of churches. These specialized hangings filled the space above the stalls with scenes from Christ’s life or the life of the Virgin or the patron saint. This example shows scenes from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, and the Washing of the Feet, respectively. In the first scene, Jesus, riding on a donkey, advances from the left. He raises his right hand to bless those who greet him at the gates of Jerusalem. Following Jesus on foot are Peter, young John holding his hat, and another disciple. The animal that carries Jesus partially emerges from the confines of the frame, its forefoot and the cloak on which it steps extending beyond the narrow floral border. The central scene focuses on its ritual aspect as the institution of the Eucharist. Three of the disciples are recognizable. Peter, at Jesus’ right, is traditionally bald and square-bearded. Judas, conforming to a widely accepted tradition, has red hair, and he clutches in his right hand the purse containing the thirty pieces of silver. Although in the Bible account John asks the question, his is shown asleep, leaning against Jesus. In the final scene, the arms of an archbishop, denoted by his hat and four tiers of tassels, decorate the tops of the two central columns. These arms were added to the original tapestry and belong to the Bouthillier-Chavigny family which produced several archbishops in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. From Anna Gray Bennett, "Five Centuries of Tapestry: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco" (San Francisco: Chronicle Books; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1976; repr. 1992): 80.

Contemporaneous Works “Art from the same century and country”