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Guardiola Armorial
ca. 1575
Not on display
Wool; Tapestry Weave
203.2 x 213.4 cm (80 x 84 in.)
Object Type:
Accession Number:
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Museum collection

Exhibition History:

Filoli Mansion, Woodside, California, 1979 - 1984 or later

The tapestry displays the arms of the ancient Guardiola family whose residence was within the walls of the city of Barcelona, near the monastery of San Pedro de la Puellas. It may have been woven for Garau de Guardiola y Ferrero, Perpetual Bailiff General of Barcelona and of the Principality of Catalonia. The Guardiola who chose the device of the eye for his coat of arms exploited the similarity of his name to the word guardia, or “guardsman.” The guardman’s characteristic watchfulness is expressed by the symbols of the eyes, shield, helmet, crest, and corner motive, and is stated explicitly in the motto: IN PACE ET BELLO PERSPICACES (Sharp-sighted in peace and in war). Two baleful eyes stare from the central shield on either side of a dentate band. The helmet has a peacock for crest, recalling the mythical guardian, Argus, who had a thousand eyes. In each corner stands a small crane, like a sentinel, holding a stone in its claw. Should the crane fall asleep on guard, the stone would fall, recalling it to duty. The crane is therefore a symbol not only of watchfulness but of prudence. Certain features are constant within the discipline of Spanish armorial tapestries: the general color scheme of orange, gold, tan, and blue; the strapwork border with midpoint emphasis. Ironwork scrolls surround both shields, and corresponding forms fill the corner spaces of both main panels. The changes are equally instructive. The strapwork shows new three-dimensionality, and the motto threaded through its scrolling forms furthers this new illusion of space. 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): p. 140.

Contemporaneous Works “Art from the same century and country”

No contemporaneous works available.