Vertumnus transformed into a harvester (Vertumno transformado en segador)

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Vertumnus transformed into a harvester (Vertumno transformado en segador)

This is the first cloth in the series narrating the transformations of the god of the seasons, Vertumnus, who appears in this occasion as a harvester in order to approach Pomona, goddess of fruits and gardens.

The first disguise

Vertumnus puts on the disguise of harvester, topped with a flowery hat and an armful of hay on his shoulder. He advances in a posture of joining Pomona, who holds the pruning shears in her right hand, as is typical of her. In the center of the foreground, a pair of peacocks symbolizes conceit. On the background, Silenus, one of the suitors scorned by the goddess, is carried by three satyrs on their shoulders, under a small temple with a triangular pediment.

The gardens of Pomona

The pergola or the bowers and grape arbors, supported by caryatids, separate the protagonists and surround the precious gardens of Pomona, fenced in to prevent her suitors from entering. This model of Italian Renaissance garden, with marble pilasters and bases adorned with flower vases, is inspired in the imprints of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, by Francesco Colonna, published in Venice in 1499.

A 19th c. intervention

The border represents acanthus leaves interlaced with grotesque masks with waves, ovals and beads. Some banners appear on the side and lower borders with mythological scenes and grotesque masks in three of their angles. This irregularity shows the traces of a 19th c. intervention in which the cloth was cut and the border sewn again. The banner on the top border maintains said Latin inscription, although blurry.

In the wedding of Alfonso XII and Maria Christina

This tapestry was part of the selection made to decorate the walls of the ball room of the Royal Palace on November 29th, 1879, on the occasion of King Alfonso XII marrying for the second time, now to Maria Christina of Austria. The cloth was adapted to the larger panel of the room, and has since then been framed in gilded, carved wood.


In the foreground, under the two peacocks, there is a Latin inscription ASPICE POMONA QVO POSSIT FALLERE SESE/ VERTVMNVS MVTATIM EFFIGIES. The top banner of the border reads SECTA FIT MESSOR ARISTA.

Series Vertumnus and Pomona

First tapestry in the series

Model Circle of Pieter Coeck van Aelst

Manufacture Wilhelm Pannemaker, Brussels, ca. 1545-1550

Fabric Gold, silver, silk and wool

Size 430 x 539 cm

Location Royal Palace of Madrid

On display State Dining Room

National Heritage Series 16


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