The Invention of Glory, Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries

The Invention of Glory, Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries

The Pastrana Tapestries —recipient of the 2011 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards— are among the finest surviving Gothic tapestries in the world.

The impressive exhibition is comprised of four recently restored, monumental tapestries, each measuring 12 by 36 feet. Woven in Tournai (in modern-day Belgium) at the end of the 15th century, the tapestries were commissioned for the Portuguese Royal Court and commemorate King Afonso V's conquest in 1471 of the Moroccan cities of Asilah and Tangier, located near the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar.

They are among the rarest and earliest examples of tapestries created to celebrate what were then contemporary events, instead of allegorical or religious subjects, but the designer minimized the misery of warfare and reinvented the event with the heroic image of Afonso and the ideals of chivalry in mind.

  • Heritage
  • San Diego
  • Jun 7, 2012Sep 30, 2012


The San Diego Museum of Art‎, 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

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Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Fundación Carlos de Amberes, Madrid, in association with the Embassy of Spain, the Spain-USA Foundation, and the Embassy of Portugal and with the cooperation of the Embassy of Belgium and the Embassy of Morocco in Washington, DC, as well as the Diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana, Spain.

The exhibition is supported by the Members of The San Diego Museum of Art and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program. Institutional support for the Museum is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.