Vertumnus reveals his identity to Pomona
Vertumnus removes his disguise
Vertumnus is seen shedding his old lady disguise while he takes Pomona’s hand, revealing to the goddess who he loves so much his love and real identity. In the original tapestry a Latin inscription, contained in a banner in the upper border, described the scene: HIC REDIT IN SESE VERTVNVS [Here, Vertumnus returns to his real self].
The final meeting between the gods takes place in a garden, in a gallery in perspective, in front of a porch made up of an arch which is held up by petrified figures. A vine covers the pergola and two putti hold up a garland. Beneath the arch, we read the following inscription: NÕ POTVIT FALLERE FECIT ANVS [He could not deceive her any longer. He turned into an old woman]. As in the first tapestry of the series, the double inscription allows us to identify the tapestry as that which was presented in the Maria of Hungary’s Palace of Binche in 1549.
An allegory of marriage
The union of the gods is part of the traditional iconographical depiction of matrimony. Some details allude to nuptial ceremonies at court. Thus, for example, in some public ceremonies it was normal for the husband to lie down beside his wife with one leg bare, a detail which could be alluded to in Vertumnus’ bare foot.
The left border shows the metamorphosis of Baucis and Philemon, while on the right we see that of Clitia.
Series Vertumnus and Pomona
Eighth tapestry in the series
Model Circle of Pieter Coeck van Aelst
Manufacture Wilhelm Pannemaker, Brussels, c. 1545-1550
Fabric Gold, silver, silk and wool
Size 428 x 360 cm
Location Royal Palace of Madrid
On display State Dining Room
National Heritage Series 16