Jeweled columns divide the tapestry into four bays. Each bay encloses a scene illustrating a text from the Old or New Testament. The theme running through all four scenes is the divine harmony between the prophets' promises and the fulfillment of them as stated in the Apostles' Creed. In...
Jeweled columns divide the tapestry into four bays. Each bay encloses a scene illustrating a text from the Old or New Testament. The theme running through all four scenes is the divine harmony between the prophets' promises and the fulfillment of them as stated in the Apostles' Creed. In the first scene, God the Father raises His hand in benediction before Eve who rises from the sleeping Adam's side. A chorus of angels stands behind the three main figures. In the foreground are a pair of seated figures, each identified by the name inscribed on the scroll held in his hand. The prophet Jeremiah (JEREMIAS) sits at the left holding a scroll inscribed as follows: PATREM INVOCABIMUS QUI TERAM FECIT ET CONDIDIT CELOS("we shall call upon the Father who made the earth and founded the heavens.") The Apostle Peter sits at the right. The scroll falling over and behind his right leg is inscribed as follows: CREDO IN DEUM PATREM OMNIPOTE TEM CREATOREM CELI ET TERRE [Apostles' Creed] ("I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.") In the next section of the tapestry, John the Baptist is shown in the act of baptizing Christ. The upper half of the figure God the Father appears in an aura between two groups: angels and men. The dove of the Holy Spirit descends from the aura toward the figure of Christ standing below. King David, identified by an inscription written accross his robe, holds in his right hand a scroll inscribed with the following words: DOMINUS DIXIT AD ME FILIUS MEUS ES TU ("The Lord said to me, Thou art my son.") Saint Andrew, The Apostle, sits in the lower right corner holding his cross and a small scroll inscribed ANDREAS. A larger scroll rising from his right hand is inscribed as follows: ET IN IHESUM XPRISTUM FILIUM EIUS UNICU DOMIUM NOSTUM [Apostles' Creed] ("And Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.") The third main section of the tapestry shows the Nativity. The Christ Child lies in a pool of light in the center foreground. Joseph and Mary kneel on either side of him, in adoration. Two angels kneel in prayer in the middle distance while a third, holding a scroll inscribed GLORIA IN EXSEXLIS DEO ET IN TER ("Glory to God in the highest and on earth") appears in the sky before a group of shepherds. In the foreground at the left is the prophet Isaiah, identified by the inscription YSAYAS. His scroll reads: ECCE VIRGO CONCIPIET ET PARIET FILIUM ("Behold the virgin conceived and brought forth a son"). The Apostle James the Elder, identified by an inscription JACOPUS, sits in the lower right corner of this section and holds a scroll with these words: QUI CONCEPTUS EST DE SPIRITU SANCTO NATUS EX MARIA VIRGINE [Apostles' Creed] ("Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary") The Crucifixtion is represented in the fourth and final section of the tapestry. The figure of Christ on the cross accupies the center of the space; behind it at left and right the two theives hang on their crosses. Joseph of Arimathea, in the center distance, covers the body of Christ with a cloth. In the foreground, the figures of Mary Magdalene, John the Evangelist, and the swooning Virgin occupy the space at the left of the cross. The prophet Hosea, identified by the inscription OZEAS on his scroll, sits in the lower left corner. The inscription on the major portion of his scroll reads as follows: O MORS ORO MORS TUA MORSUS TUUS ERO INFERNE ("O Death, I shall be your death; I will bite you into destruction, infernal one") Opposite Hosea, and serving as a pendant to the figure of Jeremiah at the left end of the tapestry, is the seated figure of John, labeled JOHANES. The scroll held in his right hand reads: PASSUS SUB PONCIO PYLATO CRUCIFIXUS MORTUUS ET SEPULT [Apostles' Creed] ("Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried") The event represented in each of the four panels expresses the content of each pair of inscriptions. The narrow border shows a repeating pattern of symmetrical bunches of fruits and leaves set within the large ovoid openings of a fretwork resembling delicate stone tracery. The colors used are blues, reds, yellow and touches of green.
Purchased in Madrid around 1893 by Eben Wright and said to have come from a cathedral in Spain; to his mother Mrs. John Harvey Wright upon his death; to MFA, November 12, 1908.
Gift of Mrs. John Harvey Wright in memory of her son Eben Wright and her father Lyman Nichols