Monkeys and grotesques over red field series (Monos y grutescos sobre campo colorado)

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Monkeys and grotesques over red field series (Monos y grutescos sobre campo colorado)

There are many tapestries representing monkeys and grotesques, but this one can be differentiated because of its red field, as shown in its name. Monkeys and grotesques over red field is a series of ten cloths of gold, silver, silk and wool which was inventoried in the Tapestry of King Philip II in 1621 by the treasurer Hernando de Espejo. It was thus under custody among the treasures stored in the Office of the Royal Tapestry.

The imprints of Grotesques and Perspectives byCornelis Floris and his disciple Hans Vredeman de Vries, edited by H. Cock in 1554 and by G. de Jode in 1555, were used as models for the tapestries known by the names of Grotesques, Old Fictions and Adornments of perspectives, which are the names inscribed in the inventories of Mary of Hungary and Philip II.

The 6th tapestry in the series, entitled Monkeys playing with foxes, has the date of execution woven in the border, in which the year 1554 appears on the tablet of the personification of Arithmetic. Only three cloths preserve the original selvages with the monogram of the weaver, as established by imperial decree of 1544.


P. Junquera de Vega, “Les séries de tapisseries de « Grotesques » et l ‘« Histoire de Noé » de la Couronne d’Espagne”, en Actes du Colloque International L’Art brabançon au milieu du XVI siècle et les tapisseries du château de Wawel à Cracovie (14-15 décembre 1972). Extrait du Bulletin des Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Bruselas, 1974, pp. 147-171.

P. Junquera de Vega y C. Herrero Carretero, Catálogo de Tapices del Patrimonio Nacional. Volumen I: Siglo XVI, Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, 1986, pp. 214- 224.

C. Herrero Carretero, “Monos y Grutescos”, en Felipe II. Un monarca y su época. Un príncipe del Renacimiento, exhibition catalog, Madrid, Museo del Prado, 1998, pp. 344-347.

Series Monkeys and grotesques over red field

Models Cartoonists Cornelis Floris and Hans Vredeman de Vries, c. 1549-1550

Manufacture Jean Baudouyns, Brussels, dated 1554

Fabric Gold, silver, silk and wool

Location Gallery of the Queen at El Pardo Royal Palace

Origin The collection of Philip II


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