The civil ranks in worship
In this sixteenth panel of the series, we see a group of characters from the Habsburg family, representative of civil power at the time, worshipping the Host as defenders of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The scene is framed by two columns which combine Doric and Tuscan styles, with banded and fluted shafts.
In the foreground, we see Emperor Ferdinand II worshipping, the representative of the Austrian line of the Habsburg dynasty, who, during his reign from 1619 to 1637, was notable for his religious policies in favour of the Catholic Church. His religious piety is also obvious from the rosary he holds in his left hand. He appears covered by a large cloak, adorned with the Austrian imperial coat of arms. At his feet, on a hassock, sit the crown, sceptre and orb, symbols of Holy Imperial power.
Monarchs and patrons
In the background we see the reigning Spanish monarchs of the time also kneeling: Philip IV, with the Golden Fleece and royal crown at his feet, and his first wife Isabel of Bourbon. Beside them is Isabella Clara Eugenia, dressed in the habit of the Third Order of Saint Francis, a secular order into which she entered in 1621, and who commissioned the series.
Saints of the House of Habsburg
Standing, and behind the group, two characters dressed in military garb hold standards; in the central one, we see once again the imperial coat of arms. They have been identified as two military saints linked to the House of Habsburg: Saint Leopold III, with a beard and carrying the standard of Vienna, the city of which he is the patron as well as of all of Austria; and Saint Rudolph.
Formed as a retable
This panel was conceived to form a pair with “The civil ranks in worship”; along with three further tapestries, they would have formed a single composition in the form of a retable.
The marks of the weaver and place of manufacture can be seen in the lower selvage: IAN RAES BdB. The monograms of Jacques Fobert and Hans Vervoert can be seen in the right-hand selvage.
Series The Triumph of the Eucharist
Sixteenth tapestry in the series
Model Peter Paul Rubens, 1626-1628
Manufacture Jan II Raes, Jacques Fobert and Jan Vervoert, Brussels, 1627-1632
Fabric Silk and wool
Size 480 x 330 cm
Location Monastery of the Descalzas Reales
Origin Collection of the Monastery of the Descalzas Reales
On display Hall of Tapestries
National Heritage Inv. 00614217