In 1513, Pope Leo X commissioned Raphael to create a series of ten tapestries to be hung in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The result was Acts of the Apostles (c. 1515), which depicts the lives of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul; these are the artist’s only known tapestry designs, and were the last major project he completed before his death in 1520. Raphael and his workshop created ten full-scale cartoons to be used as models by the weavers of Pieter van Aelst’s studio in Brussels, who translated them into impressively large hangings made using gold and silver silk and wool yarns. This exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna examines the profound influence the series had on Flemish tapestry art (26 September–14 January 2024). Raphael’s drawings are shown alongside the woven works and tapestries by artists including Barend van Orley, Michiel Coxcie and van Aelst, who took inspiration from the Acts of the Apostles for his The Seven Deadly Sins in the mid-1500s. Find out more on the KHM’s website.
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