The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries

September 18, 2011 – January 8, 2012

East Building Upper Level

THIS EXHIBITION IS NO LONGER ON VIEW AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY.

Overview: The Pastrana Tapestries—among the finest surviving Gothic tapestries—will be on view together for the first time in the United States at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from September 18, 2011, through January 8, 2012. The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries will feature the recently restored set of four monumental tapestries that commemorate the conquest of two strategically located cities in Morocco by the king of Portugal, Afonso V (1432–1481).

Since the 17th century the tapestries have been the property of the Collegiate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Pastrana, Spain, just 50 miles east of Madrid. Because of their outstanding quality and historical significance, the Spanish government listed them as cultural patrimony to be safeguarded during the Spanish Civil War. Only one of the four tapestries has traveled previously to the U.S.; The Conquest of Tangier was included in the landmark National Gallery exhibition Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration in 1991–1992.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Fundación Carlos de Amberes, Madrid, in association with the Embassy of Spain, the Spain-USA Foundation, and the Embassy of Portugal and with the cooperation of the Embassy of Belgium and the Embassy of Morocco in Washington, DC, as well as the Diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana, Spain.

Sponsor: The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the government of Spain; the government of Portugal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Instituto Camões; and the government of Belgium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conservation of the tapestries was undertaken at the initiative of the Spanish Fundación Carlos de Amberes, with support from the Belgian InBev-Baillet Latour Fund, and the following Spanish institutions: Fundación Caja Madrid, Region of Castilla—La Mancha, Provincial Council of Guadalajara, and Diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana. The conservation of the tapestries received the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards 2011.

Image: Probably produced under the direction of Passchier Grenier, tapestry merchant, Assault on Asilah (detail), Tournai (Belgium), 1470s, wool and silk, Diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana, Spain ©Fundación Carlos de Amberes. Photograph by Paul M.R. Maeyaert

Other Venues:
Meadows Museum, Dallas, Texas, February 5–May 13, 2012
San Diego Museum of Art, June 10–September 9, 2012
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, October 27–December 31, 2012