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172
Frontal of the 'Pietà'
Room 15



Textiles and clothing

Anonymous

Frontal of the 'Pietà'

Valencia (?) (fabric and braiding); Catalonia, Sant Joan de les Abadesses (?) (embroidery)
Fabric and braiding (15th C.), embroidery (last quarter of the 15th C, around 1480)
Fabric: cut velvet, silk warps and weft; Braiding: silk and gold; Embroidery: applied silk taffeta, silk, gold and silver threads, and sequins
110 x 247 cm
From the monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses (Ripollès)
MEV 2048

Background fabric of single corps cut black velvet, black silk main-warp and pile warp, black silk weft; made on the velvet shaft loom. Braid fringe of black silk and gold, done on the braid loom. Fabric and fringe almost certainly made in Valencia. Decorated with embroidery done on a linen tabby base placed in a frame and applied later to the velvet. The embroidery is picturial, made of needle-painted polychrome silks, of figures and of cordwork; and of gold and silver couching point, couched silk held by gold thread, chequered and filled. Sequins applied. Silk taffeta applied to velvet forming the landscape and embroidered with silk threads and sequins. Almost certainly done by a workshop in Sant Joan de les Abadesses. At the top there is a band with the following inscription embroidered: “JHS Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum”, with a cross interspersed between each word. Beneath the band is the fringe. On either side of the frontal there are the coats of arms of the Folcrà family, with a black silk H embroidered on silver thread embroidery, and the Cardona family, with a white silk dove embroidered on a background of embroidered gold threads, surrounded by Gothic foliage. The central scene, applied, has a green silk taffeta background, and depicts the Pietà. In the centre is the Virgin Mary sitting below the cross, covered in a black cloak; she has the dead Christ in her lap. On her right is Saint John the Baptist, who with his right hand is pointing to the lamb he is carrying over his left arm. On the left of the Virgin is Saint Mary Magdalene, with the jar of ointments in her hands. Between the three figures are the instruments of the Passion with a non-realistic distribution, as if hanging in the landscape. The frontal is not one of the best done by the monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses. Of the four frontals from there in the Museu Episcopal de Vic, it is the one in the poorest state of repair, we presume due to its more frequent use. The depiction has great expressiveness, especially the figures of the Virgin and Christ. It falls within the international style of needle painting.


Room 15
Floor 1
9-10-11 Gothic Art
12-13-14 Renaissance
15-16 Textiles and Clothing
17 Glass