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The Triumph of Chastity over Love

Tapestry
circa 1520 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This tapestry is from a series of six based on the poem I Trionfi (The Triumphs), written by the Italian poet Petrach between 1352 and 1374. The poem described a series of allegorical visions, and this scene represents the Triumph of Chastity over Love. On the left, Chastity, riding a unicorn, topples Love (Cupid) from his chariot. In the centre, Cupid, now bound, sits at the feet of Chastity in her triumphal car.

The Humanist theme, secular yet improving, was popular in King Henry VIII's court, and used as the subject for many types of decorative art as well as tapestries. This tapestry may have belonged to the King, or to Cardinal Wolsey.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Tapestry with wool warp and weft and a few silk wefts
Brief Description
Tapestry, The triumph of chastity over love, about 1520, Brussels
Physical Description
Tapestry woven with approx 6-7 warps per cm.
Dimensions
  • Weight: 71kg
  • Left edge height: 444.3cm
  • Centre height: 436cm
  • Right edge height: 444cm
  • Top edge width: 822cm
  • Bottom edge width: 820.5cm
  • Top edge width: 8190mm
  • Bottom edge width: 8170mm
  • Proper right length: 4434mm
  • Proper left length: 4426mm
  • Weighed on roller weight: 72kg
Gallery Label
The Triumph of Chastity over Love Dated 1507 and 1510 This comes from a set of six tapestries showing the Triumph of Petrarch. On the left, Chastity, riding a unicorn, topples Love (Cupid) from his chariot. In the centre, Cupid, now bound sits at the feet of Chastity in her triumphal car. This Humanist theme, secular yet improving, was popular in Henry VIII's court. Tapestry, with wool warp and weft, and a few silk wefts Made in Brussels Probably owned by Cardinal Wolsey or Henry VIII V&A: 440-1883 Cat. 6(2003)
Object history
Probably made for and owned by Cardinal Wolsey or Henry VIII.

Bought from E Lowengard, Paris. At the time it entered the Museum, it was thought to date to 1507-1510, but in 2007 Thomas Campbell suggested about 1520. See Object production note.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This tapestry is from a series of six based on the poem I Trionfi (The Triumphs), written by the Italian poet Petrach between 1352 and 1374. The poem described a series of allegorical visions, and this scene represents the Triumph of Chastity over Love. On the left, Chastity, riding a unicorn, topples Love (Cupid) from his chariot. In the centre, Cupid, now bound, sits at the feet of Chastity in her triumphal car.



The Humanist theme, secular yet improving, was popular in King Henry VIII's court, and used as the subject for many types of decorative art as well as tapestries. This tapestry may have belonged to the King, or to Cardinal Wolsey.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Thomas P Campbell, Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty : Tapestries at the Tudor court, Yale University Press, 2007, pp.149-155.
  • Marks, R & Williamson, P. (Eds.), Gothic. Art for England 1400-1547, London, V&A, 2003
Collection
Accession Number
440-1883

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record createdOctober 6, 2003
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