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The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries
September 18, 2011 – January 8, 2012
East Building, Upper Level and North Bridge

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: The four 15th-century Pastrana Tapestries, commemorating the conquest of the cities of Asilah and Tangier in Morocco by King Afonso V of Portugal in 1471, were on view in this exhibition. The tapestries were on loan from the Collegiate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Pastrana, Spain, which has owned the tapestries since the 17th century. Three of the tapestries were on view in the United States for the first time. The historical context for the tapestries, plus their extensive recent conservation treatment, were described in comprehensive wall texts.

On December 18 Barbara von Barghahn, professor of art history at The George Washington University, presented the lecture "Introduction to the Exhibition—The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries." Julia Burke, senior conservator and head of the department of textile conservation, and Diane Arkin, lecturer, National Gallery of Art, presented "Conversations with Conservators and Educators" in the exhibition galleries in November and December.

Organization: The exhibition was 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 was made possible through the 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.

Attendance: 88,568 (113 days)

Catalog: The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries. Madrid: Fundación Carlos de Amberes, 2010.

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

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

Related Resources

Audio and Video

The Pastrana Tapestries of King Afonso V of Portugal: The Invention of Glory
Audio, Released: December 27, 2011, (61:35 minutes)
Press Event: The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries
Audio, Released: September 13, 2011, (32:12 minutes)