The Miraculous Catch Tapestry

The Miraculous Catch Tapestry
The Miraculous Catch Tapestry

Raphael Sanziois considered one of the great painters of theRenaissancethanks to the fantastic oil paintings of him as his famous Lady with the Unicorn or mural paintings such as the fresco representing El Parnaso. However, within Raphael's artistic production there are some works that are not well known, but of enormous value. They are the cardboard of him for making tapestries. And a splendid example is this one that we see here that represents The Miraculous Catch.


Tapestry of Miraculous Fishing based on a cartoon by Rafael

The Pope Leo X commissioned the painter in 1514 to make the cartoons for 10 life-size tapestries. Some tapestries that should have been inspired by as many apostolic episodes. And which were intended to cover part of the walls of the charismatic Sistine Chapel, where the cardinals meet to elect the new Popes.

The iconographic program was designed by the pontiff himself with the advice of the theologians closest to him. All this with the aim of shaping the mission of the next Popes and legitimizing his prestige as a worthy heir to the Apostle Peter. Although, although the program of the various episodes to represent was given to him, that did not prevent Rafael from carrying out an in-depth documentation work on his own behalf. So much so that it is said that while he was preparing the work, there was an assistant permanently by his side who read thecanonical texts he needed for his inspiration.

That's about the theme, but when it comes to aesthetics, without a doubt Rafael took advantage of the commission to materialize some of the key elements of art Renaissance, from its representation of great architectures, to the studies of geometry and perspective. Just as he was able to show in those large figures his profound knowledge of anatomy and classical art.

It is clear that Rafael's work was limited to the elaboration of the cartoons. The matter of weaving them was no longer his job, in fact he did not even see the 10 finished ones, he only saw seven of them once weaved. A job that corresponded to the textile masterPieter van Aelst, who had his workshop and his entire work team inBrussels. There, these tapestries were woven from wool, silk, and gold and silver threads between 1516 and 1521.

Those were the originals, the ones that were placed in the Sistine Chapel for a while. But such was its beauty that more copies were made for other European monarchies. But today, the most complete and best preserved is in Spain, and it is a replica that was made later by two other workshops in Brussels, the one in Jan van Thiegem and that of Frans Gheteels.

A cycle of which the first chapter is this one of The Miraculous Catch, in which we see how Jesus identifies his first apostles, among whom is Saint Peter, of fisherman trade.

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