Wisdom is inspired by the Holy Spirit
In an open-air landscape, Wisdom appears seated on a chair which recalls models from Antiquity destined for holders of high office, especially those in the Egyptian world. The legs, which take the form of animal limbs, are particularly notable (in this case, bovid animals), and with a simply-designed back.
Inspiration from the Holy Spirit
The woman is writing with a quill in a thick book which sits on her knees as she turns her head towards the dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit, from whom she draws inspiration. On a small wall, an angel holds an inkwell with several quills, helping Wisdom in her task.
Its function in the series
As with the allegorical panels of Charity (with which it forms a pair), and the panel on “Franciscan Asceticism”, it was conceived as a painting, in such a way that the scene is framed by a moulding of seaweed and darts instead of columns, which is the technique used in most of the tapestries.
The creative process
The initial draft is kept in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tournai, in Belgium. The model also survives, and was sold to the the collection of Fritz Hess in Berlin in the Cassier-Fisher Gallery, Lucerne, in 1931. Its whereabouts is currently unknown, although it must belong to a private collection. The cartoon was lost in the fire of the Palace of Coudenberg, Brussels, in 1731. The tapestry has few variations compared to the model conserved in Tournai; even the colours used by Rubens in the draft are maintained.
The marks of the weaver and place of manufacture can be seen in the lower selvage: IAQ GEUBELS BdB. The monogram of Jacques Geubels can be seen in the right-hand selvage.
Series The Triumph of the Eucharist
Nineteenth tapestry in the series
Model Peter Paul Rubens, 1626-1628
Manufacture Jacob II Geubels, Brussels, 1627-1632
Fabric Silk and wool
Size 265 x 205 cm
Location Monastery of the Descalzas Reales
Origin Collection of the Monastery of the Descalzas Reales
On display Hall of Tapestries
National Heritage Inv. 00610328