God the Father and the Holy Spirit
This panel functions as a canopy or baldachin, and depicts God the Father and the Holy Ghost.
Bernard van Orley as designer
As with the “Christ of Mercy”, van Orley probably designed this panel. It is a theme he also repeated in oil paintings attributed to him. Here God the Father and the Holy Ghost triumphantly emerge from the clouds surrounded by rings of cherubs and angels.
Divine Justice and Mercy
As with its companion panel, the theme of divine Justice and Mercy are underscored here. The message of divine Justice may also subtly refer to Margaret as the highest judicial authority in the Netherlands, these powers delegated to her by her nephew, Emperor Charles V. Margaret’s Baldachin may have been commissioned by the regent as a mirror for how she must rule, dispense justice and practice compassion for her subjects.
Margaret´s palace in Mechelen
This canopy is thought to have served as an awning for Margaret of Austria’s prie-dieu in the chapel of her palace in Mechelen. Although the original location of both the Baldachin and its complementary tapestries, the Square Passion, is not known. They possibly decorated the court chapel in the Malines palace. However, this building has undergone so many transformations over the centuries that a precise reconstruction has become impossible.
The Patrimony of Margaret of Austria
In 1531 Charles V inherited the bulk of his aunt’s tapestry collection, including these three panels of the Baldachin, or Dais of Charles V, which remained in the tapestry wardrobe of the Coudenberg palace in Brussels. In 1555 Charles V used these same tapestries to form his dais and canopy at his abdication ceremony held in the same palace and in 1556 he brough the Baldachin to Spain where he retired. In 1568 they were inherited by his son Philip II, who displayed them as a dais and baldachin at the monastery of El Escorial. They were subsequently returned in 1593 to the tapestry wardobe of the Alcázar palace in Madrid.
Series Dais of Charles V (Baldachin of Margaret of Austria)
Tapestry baldachin of the dais
Model Bernard van Orley (1491-1542)
Manufacture Pieter de Pannemaker, Brussels, 1518-1524
Fabric Gold, silver, silk and wool
Size 210 x 210 cm
Location Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Origin Collection of Margaret of Austria, later inherited by Charles V in 1530
On display Halls of Honour
National Heritage Inv. n. 10034478