The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries

On view October 27, 2012 to December 31, 2012

Monumental in scale and meticulous in construction, the Pastrana Tapestries are one of the finest examples of Gothic tapestry in existence. The four, 36-foot-long tapestries are on view together for the first time as part of a rare U.S. tour that follows an extensive restoration project. Commissioned by Portugal's King Afonso V (1432-1481) and expertly woven in Belgium's Tournai workshops in the late 1400s, the Pastrana Tapestries are singular for their depiction of a contemporary subject: Afonso's military campaigns in North Africa. Through vibrantly colored wool and silk threads, a vivid scene of military pomp and conquest emerges -- knights in full regalia raise their swords to the sky, royal trumpeters sound their advance, ships' masts punctuate the horizon and scenes of battle teem with valor and might. PEM is the exclusive Northeast venue for The Invention of Glory.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 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, D.C., as well as the Diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana, Spain.

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.

Support provided by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Promotional Partner: Landry&Arcari