Architecture and Rhetoric as the Personification of Justice, Prudence and Constancy

Brussels Manufactory (Workshop of Jan Leyniers)1660

Fundación Banco Santander

Fundación Banco Santander

This tapestry belongs to a set of eight on The Arts and Sciences in the Colección Santander, which must in turn have been part of a larger group of which some are now missing. The different size of the individual tapestries is due to the fact that they were woven for specific locations, forming what was known in Brussels as a chambre en tapisserie.

In this panel three male figures dressed in classical style are grouped around a pedestal on which one of them traces lines with a compass. The architecture in the background seems to be in the early 17th-century Flemish style. In the foreground various books and instruments are scattered across the floor. One of the instruments is a type of calliper known as a nonius. Each figure has an attribute that could be interpreted in various ways and the figures themselves may be classical philosophers traditionally related to the Liberal Arts. The figure on the right has a set-square that associates him with architecture and justice; the one in the centre has a compass, symbol of geometry and prudence; and the one on the right has a staff, symbol of rhetoric and constancy. The tapestry as a whole thus refers to the way that the cultivation of these arts gives mankind access to all the virtues.

All the tapestries in the set involve two themes: a moral one relating to the life of man, his virtues and vices, and an exaltation of the Arts, encompassing the Liberal Arts and the so-called Fine Arts.

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  • Title: Architecture and Rhetoric as the Personification of Justice, Prudence and Constancy
  • Creator: Brussels Manufactory (Workshop of Jan Leyniers)
  • Date Created: 1660
  • Place Part Of: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: w1940 x h4100 mm (Complete)
  • Exhibition: Madrid, Spain
  • Type: Tapestry
  • Rights: Fundación Banco Santander, www.fundacionbancosantander.com
  • External Link: Fundación Banco Santander
  • Medium: Wool and silk


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