The Coronation of the Virgin (La Coronación de la Virgen)
The ‘Coronation of the Virgin’ is the culmination of the four panels which make up this series dedicated to exalting Mary as mother of the Redeemer.
The Coronation of Mary
Mary, standing with the open book of the Old Testament in her hands, is crowned by the three personae of Trinity. They are represented according to the iconographic tradition of the three ages: the elderly, God the Father; Jesus Christ, the adult man; and the Holy Ghost, a beardless youth. Their crowned heads and the crown they hold over the head of Mary shape a triangle reinforcing the Trinitarian mystery.
The feminine entourage of the theological virtues – Faith, Hope and Charity – and of the cardinal virtues – Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance – around the mother of the Saviour can be identified by their traditional attributes, such as the burning heart of Charity, the sword of Justice, or the strangled reptile of Fortitude.
Joanna of Castile and Philip the Handsome
The composition in the manner of an altar, divided by a colonnade with inlaid jewels, offers in the upper plane two scenes extracted from the Holy Scriptures and related to the salvation and redemption of the world through the sacrifice of the Son of God: David and Abigail, and the Wedding of Solomon. In the lower plane, there are scenes referring to the coronation of Joanna as Queen of Castile, and to the presentation of the likeness of Philip the Handsome, her future husband.
There is one single undeciphered inscription, with the letters YHBCO, on the sheath of the sword of Justice, a feminine personification in the foreground.
Series Devotion of Our Lady or Golden cloths
Fourth tapestry in the series
Model Cartoonist from the circle of Colyn de Coter
Manufacture Pieter van Aelst, Brussels, c. 1500-1502
Fabric Gold, silver, silk and wool
Size 322 x 375 cm
Location Monastery and Royal Palace of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid
Origin The collection of Joanna of Castile
Exhibition Halls of Honour, together with the other three pieces of the set to which it belongs, called the Golden Cloths.
National Heritage Inv. 10014829