Willem de Pannemaker. The Mercury Series

2 June to 26 September 2010

Active from 1535 to 1581, Willem de Pannemaker was a member of one of the most celebrated families of weavers in Brussels. Pannemaker is considered the great tapestry-maker of the Flemish Renaissance, working for the aristocracy and the principal royal families of 16th-century Europe. He supplied the courts of Charles I of Spain (Charles V of Germany) and that of his son Philip II with numerous masterpieces. Pannemaker’s monogram and the quality stamp of the city of Brussels and the Duchy of Brabant, which were obligatory on tapestries from 1544 onwards, appear on the series of The Loves of Mercury and Herse, formerly in the Medinaceli ducal collection.

For the first time the Museo del Prado will bring together in its galleries this magnificent series of eight mythological tapestries, which are now dispersed among important collections and private institutions such as the Fundación Ducal Medinaceli, the Alba Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Prado. The latter has two from the series, which use gold and silk thread to depict Ovid’s verses on the loves of the god Mercury, son and messenger of Jupiter, and Herse, daughter of the king of Attic.