Size: m. 3,52 H x 5,20 - L 11’6” H x 17’1” W
Age: XVI-XVII century. About 1600.
Provenance: Baron of Empain (Belgium), Galerie Blondeel, Rome private collection.
With subject liberally inspired by Ovidius’ Metamorphoses (XIV, 623- 771), the tapestry depicts the approach of Vertumnus, god of seasons, with Pomona, goddess of gardens.
The two mythological figures are in the left foreground. Vertumnus is disguised as an old woman, Pomona is holding a sickle. The goddess Ceres attends to the scene. Several little human figures move in the garden.
The tapestry’s chief character is though the garden with its fantastic perspective.
The composition has a great visual impact: geometric flowerbeds, balustrades, pergolas, classical pavillions, statues, ancient ruins, are inserted in a greatly striking natural context, where both natural and artificial elements are skilfully alternated (fountains, streams, uncultivated stages, little animals). This is the ideal set for a mythological episode, which is quoted in this tapestry as a learned quotation.
"Garden of Pomona"
In the magnificent border, floral compositions are alternated to mythological figures. In the medallions there are hunting and agricultural scenes.
The garden subject was very popular all along the XVI century. The tapestry was possibly part of a set with other gardens, same as the one owned by the Museum of Correggio attributed to Cornelius Mattens (active in Brussels between 1580 and 1640).
In absence of signatures or town marks, it is possible, by chromatic and stylistic similarities, to draw this tapestry close to the Mattens’ atelier. We can not exclude though the attribution as a weaver to Maartin Reymbouts (active from 1570 to 1619) author of the pair Vertumnus and Pomona of the Gand Bijloke Museum that have identical border details with this one.