Home Arts Vatican Tapestry of Leonardo’s Last Supper Coming in Extremely Rare Release

Vatican Tapestry of Leonardo’s Last Supper Coming in Extremely Rare Release

by godlove4241
0 comment

A new exhibition at the Reggia di Venaria, curated by Andrea Merlotti and myself, brings two extraordinary works in exceptional condition from the Vatican collections to the Baroque palace northwest of Turin. In the Shadow of Leonardo: Tapestries and Ceremonies at the Papal Court (until June 18) unveils the 16th century tapestry of Leonardo’s Last Supper and the canopy of Clement VII’s papal throne.

A copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s 1494-1498 mural in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, the tapestry is entirely woven in silk covered in gold and silver. It arrived in Rome in 1533 as a gift from King Francis I of France to Pope Clement VII on the occasion of the marriage between the pontiff’s niece, Catherine de Medici, and Henri de Valois, the king’s second son. Their union sealed the strategic alliance between the papacy and the “most Christian king” of the French against the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, Charles V, whose mutinous troops had plundered Rome a few years earlier.

Around the same time, the canopy was woven to order from Clement VII (or perhaps already from Leo X) by the famous Brussels upholsterer Pieter Van Aelst, whose workshop had already delivered the famous Raphael tapestries for the Sistine Chapel, based on cartoons. by the talented students of Raphael, Perino del Vaga and Giovanni da Udine.

Both tapestries are associated with one of the most important ceremonies of Holy Week, the washing of the feet. The exhibition recreates the traditional setting of the Maundy Thursday ritual in the majestic Ducal Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican and later in St. Peter’s, where the ceremony was moved in the 19th century to accommodate growing crowds. In imitation of Christ washing the feet of the disciples before his crucifixion, the Pope washed the feet of 13 priests in the shade of the Last Supper tapestry, an important Eucharistic symbol, which was mounted on the wall with the canopy of Clement VII. .

The ceremony provides for special robes in fine white woolen cloth for the priests, symbolically called “apostles”, whose feet have been washed and who have received small bouquets of fresh flowers and two medals, one in gold and the other in silver.

Venaria Reale presents four rare 18th century paintings of this solemn rite on loan from the Museo di Roma and the Diocesan Museum Villa Lagarina, as well as two unpublished drawings from the Vatican Museums and a selection of 19th century lithographs. The ceremony was followed by a banquet – represented in the exhibition by paintings and woodcuts – served by the pope himself and decorated with sugar sculptures.

The footwashing attracted a large audience, which also included princes and rulers. Cardinals, sovereigns and nobles imitated the pope’s gesture in the hospice of the Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini church in Rome. This spirit of emulation quickly spread to the most important European courts where, as evidenced by some of the works in the exhibition, Catholic sovereigns rehearsed the ceremony in the presence of tapestries or paintings representing the Last Supper.

Charles Félix, Duke of Savoy, wanted to install a copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper in the Royal Palace of Turin to come as close as possible to the papal ceremony he had attended in Rome and to the original biblical episode – recalled in the spectacle by a beautiful Gobelins Tapestry from the Palazzo del Quirinale, as well as jugs and basins from the Palace of Turin and the Office of Liturgical Celebrations in the Vatican.

The exhibition tells the story of this important moment in the New Testament and its visible expression in a ritual ceremony that has been forged over the centuries.

• Alessandra Rodolfo is an art historian and curator in charge of the Department of 17th and 18th Century Art and the Department of Tapestries and Textiles at the Vatican Museums

In the Shadow of Leonardo: Tapestries and Ceremonies at the Papal CourtReggia di Venaria Reale, near Turin, until June 18

You may also like

Leave a Comment

@2022 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by artworlddaily