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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Unidentified Artist
Paul before Agrippa
Textile Arts
Work Type
late 16th century
Creation Place: Europe, Belgium, Brussels
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mrs. Philip Coffin, Madame Julia Brambilla, Mrs. E. Calbert Cheston and Mr. Charles A. Meyer
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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This tapestry narrates an event from the Acts of the Apostles (26:1). Paul was spreading the Christian gospel and attempting to convert people in Jerusalem when he was attacked by a mob and arrested. He was then brought before King Herod Agrippa II. Paul, the standing figure shown in profile at left, stands before King Herod Agrippa II (with scepter and crown) and his sister Bernice. Porcius Festus, the procurator of Judaea, is probably the seated man. The moment here shown is described in the text: "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself." Stylistically and thematically, this panel bears the influence of Raphael's famous Acts of the Apostles tapestries (woven in the Brussels workshop of Pieter van Aelst) for the Sistine Chapel. Paul and Agrippa are derived from figures in Raphael's Blinding of Elymas. The borders have foliate decoration, virtues, and gods. The upper border displays two large escutcheons in the corners: Brandenburg (with red eagle of Brandenburg, red griffin of Pomerania, Hohenzolleron quarterly black and white, and other arms), and an unidentified one (horizontal crescents on a gold ground and alternating red and white squares).

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