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Tapestry: The Assumption of the Virgin (from the series, The Life of the Virgin)

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The Apostles who were present at the death of the Virgin Mary are gathered around her empty tomb to witness the ascent of her body to be reunited with her soul in Heaven. Garlands of fruits and flowers, with birds, frame the picture. The colors are cream, blue, red, green, brown and yellow. ...

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Between about 1530 and 1538, created for Evrard de la Marck (b. 1472 - d. 1538), Prince-Bishop of Liège [see note 1]. A convent in Naples, possibly the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata Maggiore (?) [see note 2]. By 1876, Alessandro Castellani (b. 1823 - d. 1883), Rome [see note 3]; 1878, sold by Castellani to the Boston Athenaeum; 1975, sold by the Boston Athenaeum to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 10, 1975) NOTES: [1] The original destination of the tapestry is not known, but it is likely that Evrard de la Marck commissioned it (along with another tapestry representing the Virgin at the Palm Tree) for a religious establishment in Liège. See Guy Delmarcel, "La Vie de la Vierge, deux nouvelles tapisseries du Cardinal Erard de la Marck," in Archivum Artis Lovaniense, ed. M. Snyders (Leuven, 1981), pp. 225-237. [2] The tapestry is said to have been purchased by Castellani from a convent in Naples, possibly the church of the Annunziata (Basilica della Santissima Annunziata Maggiore). For many years it was believed that Cardinal Caraffa had given this tapestry to the church of the Annunziata, since his arms were -- erroneously -- identified on the tapestry itself. The arms have now been correctly identified as those of Evrard de la Marck and the provenance back to Caraffa can no longer be supported. It is possible, but remains unverified, that Castellani acquired this from a convent in Naples. [3] This was among the works of art Castellani exhibited in Philadelphia in 1876.

Credit Line

Charles Potter Kling Fund

Flemish, about 1535

Object Place

Brussels, Flanders


314.96 x 209.55 cm (124 x 82 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tapestry weave (wool warp; wool, silk, silver, and gilt-silver wefts)


Textiles and Fashion Arts