After a design by an unidentified Flemish artist
Flanders, Brussels

Pomona Surprised by Vertumnus and Other Suitors, from The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona, 1535/40

Wool and silk, slit and double interlocking tapestry weave
493.9 x 430.3 cm (194 1/2 x 169 1/2 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Worcester, 1940.86

Pomona Surprised by Vertumnus and Other Suitors, from The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona

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The young woman kneeling in the foreground, holding a branch with leaves and flowers, is Pomona, the Roman nymph of apples and orchards. The young man shown in profile to her immediate right is Vertumnus, the Proteus-like god who symbolized the passing of the seasons. The tapestry is part of a Story of Vertumnus and Pomona suite that is based on the mythological tale Ovid described in the Metamorphoses. According to the story, Vertumnus was in love with the beautiful Pomona, who was devoted to gardening and uninterested in courtship. He tried to woo her, at first in vain, but eventually won her heart. The tapestry is the first scene of five and depicts Pomona’s disinterest in all the various suitors shown. The series to which this piece belongs is the earliest surviving narrative ensemble illustrating the entirety of Ovid’s tale.

— Exhibition label, The Divine Art: Four Centuries of European Tapestries, November 1, 2008–January 4, 2009, Regenstein Hall.