Vertumnus transformed into a warrior
Armed with a sword
The upper border, now lost, contained an inscription inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses (XIV, 649): FIT MILES GLADIO (Armed with a sword, he is a soldier). Vertumnus wears Roman military dress, although it is more befitting of a general or emperor than a soldier. The god, crowned with laurel, wears leather armour and a coat covers his shoulders as he makes his way towards Pomona with a spade in his hand. The gods are located in front of a portico which, it seems, carried on each side of the central opening. A red wooden grating closes the garden off, leaving the woods in the distance to be seen.
Beans from the New World
Climbing beans twist around the columns which form the portico and make their way up the entablatures, mixing with the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian capitals. To appreciate the value of the innumerable diversity of plant species growing in Pomona’s garden, we must remember that the creation of these fictitious gardens coincided with the establishment of the first botanical gardens in Europe. The adaptation and acclimatization of the species brought back from explorers at the end of the fifteenth century interested kings and nobles, buit also the rich bourgeois, chemists, doctors and other erudite people who enjoyed horticulture. The various types of beans were new species, only recently discovered and imported from the New World.
The original borders of this tapestry were cut and attached to the sixth tapestry of this same series (National Heritage Series 16). The current borders belonged to Series 18. In the decoration we see two plant transformations inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses: the story of Baucis and Philemon and the story of Clitia.
Series Vertumnus and Pomona
Fourth 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 425 x 258 cm
Location Royal Palace of Madrid
On display State Dining Room
National Heritage Series 16