Wisdom is inspired by the Holy Spirit

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Wisdom is inspired by the Holy Spirit
In the nineteenth tapestry of the series, Wisdom is depicted as a seated woman who, dedicated to writing, receives inspiration from the Holy Spirit, who takes the form of a dove. She wears an orange tunic and a white cloak which partially covers her head.


In an open-air landscape, Wisdom appears seated on a chair which recalls models from Antiquity destined for holders of high office, especially those in the Egyptian world. The legs, which take the form of animal limbs, are particularly notable (in this case, bovid animals), and with a simply-designed back.

Inspiration from the Holy Spirit

The woman is writing with a quill in a thick book which sits on her knees as she turns her head towards the dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit, from whom she draws inspiration. On a small wall, an angel holds an inkwell with several quills, helping Wisdom in her task.

Its function in the series

As with the allegorical panels of Charity (with which it forms a pair), and the panel on “Franciscan Asceticism”, it was conceived as a painting, in such a way that the scene is framed by a moulding of seaweed and darts instead of columns, which is the technique used in most of the tapestries.

The creative process

The initial draft is kept in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tournai, in Belgium. The model also survives, and was sold to the the collection of Fritz Hess in Berlin in the Cassier-Fisher Gallery, Lucerne, in 1931. Its whereabouts is currently unknown, although it must belong to a private collection. The cartoon was lost in the fire of the Palace of Coudenberg, Brussels, in 1731. The tapestry has few variations compared to the model conserved in Tournai; even the colours used by Rubens in the draft are maintained.


The marks of the weaver and place of manufacture can be seen in the lower selvage: IAQ GEUBELS BdB. The monogram of Jacques Geubels can be seen in the right-hand selvage.

Series The Triumph of the Eucharist

Nineteenth tapestry in the series

Model Peter Paul Rubens, 1626-1628

Manufacture Jacob II Geubels, Brussels, 1627-1632

Fabric Silk and wool

Size 265 x 205 cm

Location Monastery of the Descalzas Reales

Origin Collection of the Monastery of the Descalzas Reales

On display Hall of Tapestries

National Heritage Inv. 00610328


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