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A large Flemish wall tapestry of 'The Miraculous Draft of Fishes', Oudenaarde, 16/17th C.

This lot was sold on 2022-06-26 and is no longer available

H 335 x L 527 cm

- Sotheby's, London, Nov. 1, 2005, lot 114. (link)
- A Belgian private collection.

An exceptional tapestry due to the very vividly depicted scene and the exceptionally well-preserved colours.

Woven with the standing figure of Christ having travelled aboard Peter’s ship to preach to the people from the shore of the Sea of Galilee. We see James and John helping to bring in the unexpected catch, while Andrew is shown with his arms up in amazement. Peter is shown clambering from the boat to the shore to approach Christ (John 21:1-8). The scene depicted within a four-sided elaborate border with pendant bow tied swags and sculptural corbels, corner vases of flowers in the side borders and bow tied floral and foliate swags hanging from bosses attached to a balustrade across the lower and upper borders. In the centre, a blue cabochon with floral wreath within sculptural surrounds.

In the Old Testament it is recorded that Christ advised Peter and his companions to lower their fishing nets and to their astonishment their nets were filled. Christ said `Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men’ (Luke 5:1-11). In John’s gospel (John 21:1-8) this episode is placed after the crucifixion and is recorded as one of the appearances of Christ. In this version, which is somewhat rare in art, the figure of Christ the saviour is standing on the shore and not in the boat, which is the usual representation, for example on Rubens' tryptich in Malines. The cartoons for tapestries, designed by Raphael (1514-1516), and woven into a series of tapestries pre 1557 by three Brussels workshops including that of Jan van Tieghem, for the Vatican in Rome of The Acts of the Apostles, depict the Apostles in the boats, including the seated figure of Christ.

- Sharon Fermor, The Raphael Tapestry Cartoons, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1996, for a discussion of this particularly well known interpretation of the subject of the Acts of the Apostles and including The Miraculous Draft of Fishes, the cartoon of which is in this museum along with a later English Mortlake weaving of the same subject. 
- De Meuter, Tapisseries d’Audenarde du XVI au XVIII Siècle, 1999, pp.199-200, for a discussion and illustrations of Oudenaarde Tapestries of The Acts of the Apostles, and a particular weaving of The Christians bringing gifts to the Apostles, 2nd quarter 17th C., from the collection of French & Company, New York, which has a similar compositional balance with regard to the size of the figures and an equally deep border, with the similar use of a vessel from which the side swags hang above, all held with tied bows and swags across the top and bottom. The border on our example, however, is particularly elaborate compared to the published examples.
- Emöke Làszlò, Flemish and French Tapestries in Hungary, 1981, pp.50-54, figs. 83-85, where two Oudenaarde tapestries of the same date are shown, from the Christian Museum in Esztergom. The first depicting Saint Paul on the island of Malta, with a virtually identical border to that of the offered lot, including the unusual balustrade. The second depictis Moses crossing the Red Sea, which has a similar border

Expert: Cabinet Benoît Bertrand

Estimate: € 12000 - € 18000