Thursday, May 31, 2012

Visitation Tapestry

The Burrell Collection in Glasgow is an astonishing collection of over 8000 objects amassed by a wealthy Glaswegian shipping magnate from c.1875. In 1944 he donated his collection to the city of Glasgow. This collection, which includes much medieval ecclesiastical art, is now housed in a purpose-built museum opened in 1983.

Shown here is a section of a tapestry made by a Dominican nun in Switzerland, c.1450-75. The entire wool and linen tapestry includes scenes of the Nativity of the Lord, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Presentation in the Temple. However, for today's feast of the Visitation, I would highlight the depiction above of Our Lady and St Elizabeth. Many artistic representations of this scene have the two women in red and blue garments, and almost invariably Our Lady is shown in blue. However, in this tapestry Our Lady is unusually depicted on the right in red as she sings her Magnificat.

It is thought that the good sister who wove this tapestry included herself in the work, and she is shown below.

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