Vertumnus and Pomona series (Vertumno y Pomona)
The three tapestry series from the Spanish royal collection representing the loves of Vertumnus, god of the seasons, and Pomona, goddess of the fruits and gardens, as narrated in the book 14 of Ovid's Metamorphoses, make up a set of Brussels cloths of enormous richness and magnificence.
The love scenes of Vertumnus and Pomona follow Ovid's narration literally, staging the successive transformations of Vertumnus until he overcame the indifference towards love of a scornful Pomona, and could thus enjoy her love.
A total of 22 cloths are currently preserved, after the loss of nine of them in the fire which consumed the Habsburg’s Alcazar in the court of Madrid during the Christmas of 1734.
This series, which includes Vertumnus transformed into a harvester, was woven in the Brussels workshop of the celebrated Wilhelm Pannemaker, and purchased between 1561 and 1562 by Philip II. It is based on the same cartoons as the princeps series —the first edition woven for Mary of Hungary— attributed to Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen and Pieter Coeck van Aelst, in cooperation with Cornelis de Vos and Joos van Noevele.
These tapestries, whose mythological theme offered scenes of explicit voluptuousness, were placed in the private chambers of the monarchs, where feminine and masculine nudes in paintings and tapestries complemented each other. However, they would also attain a public dimension, since, as moralizing allegories, they were used in court ceremonials and liturgical processions.
P. Junquera de Vega y C. Herrero Carretero, Catálogo de Tapices del Patrimonio Nacional. Volumen I: Siglo XVI, Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, 1986, pp. 105-107.
C. Herrero Carretero, “Vertumnus and Pomona”, en Resplendence of the Spanish Monarchy. Renaissance Tapestries and Armors from the Patrimonio Nacional, ed. A. Domínguez Ortiz, C. Herrero Carretero y J. A. Godoy, Nueva York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991, pp. 88-94.
C. Paredes, “Termes et cariatydes Dans la tenture de Vertumne et Pomone”, Annales d’Histoire de l’Art et l’Archéologie, XVIII, 1996, pp. 45-62.
C. Paredes, Vertumne et Pomone. Une fable et son décor dans une tapisserie bruxelloise du XVIe siècle. Université Libre de Bruxelles, 2005.
Series Vertumnus and Pomona
Model Circle of Pieter Coeck van Aelst
Manufacture Wilhelm Pannemaker, Brussels, ca. 1545-1550
Fabric Gold, silver, silk and wool
Location Royal Palace of Madrid
Origin Collection of Philip II