Mark Anthony and Cleopatra Series (Marco Antonio y Cleopatra)
Two series in the cathedral of Burgos
Two series with the theme of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra arrived at the Cathedral of Burgos in the mid-17th century. One belonged to Juan Castro y Castilla, Count of Montalvo, who sold it to the chapter for 4,000 silver ducats in 1646; the other one belonged to the Archdeacon of Burgos, Juan Ayala de Guzmán, who donated it to the Cathedral in 1651. The first one was comprised of nine tapestries, all preserved, although not all currently exhibited. The second was originally made up by six pieces, of which four have been preserved and only one, ‘Cleopatra and her Court’, is exhibited.
Changes in location
Both series were originally hung from the pillars of the main chapel, in two overlapping rows. With the passage of time, some were hung in the Chapter House and some in the cloister. They were also occasionally taken out to the streets for special celebrations. Two tapestries of the Count of Montalvo series were damaged in a fire while part of a temporary arch erected in 1819 to receive Queen Josefa Amalia, the wife of Ferdinand VII.
J. Matesanz del Barrio, “La colección de tapices flamencos de la catedral de Burgos en la Edad Moderna”, Boletín de la Institución Fernán González, Vol. 236 (2008), pp. 111-131.
Series Mark Anthony and Cleopatra (Originally comprised of six cloths, of which four are preserved and only one is exhibited)
Model Cartoon attributed to Pieter Coecke van Aelst
Manufacture Brussels?, 2nd half of 16th c.
Fabric Silk and wool
Origin A bequest to the cathedral in 1654 by Archdeacon Juan de Ayala Guzmán
Location Corpus Christi chapel in the cathedral of Burgos