Museum of Flemish Tapestries in Marsala
Museum of Flemish Tapestries in Marsala

The Museum of Flemish Tapestries in Marsala is a small jewel where precious tapestries from the late sixteenth century are kept.

How these splendid artefacts arrived in Marsala still remains a mystery, it is thought that they were donated to the city in 1589 by Monsignor Antonio Lombardo, canon of the cathedral of Mazara and archpriest of Marsala. Most likely Monsignor Lombardo had purchased the tapestries in Messina during the period of his bishopric.

The small and suggestive Museum is located in the historic center of Marsala in via Garaffa, 57.

The eight Tapestries, dating back to the golden period of Flemish manufacturing, tell the story of the Jewish War between the Romans and the Jews of 66 AD. C.
This collection of considerable value is the most important in Italy after the one preserved in Naples in the Capodimonte Museum, depicting the Battle of Pavia.

The dimensions of the tapestries vary from 350 cm wide and up to 500 cm high.
The scenes shown concern the conquest of Jerusalem by the Romans and represent one of the most exploited themes in fifteenth-century iconography.
Although the historical reference is very precise, the scenes lend themselves to an allegorical interpretation as in the episodes narrated the iconography does not respect the Jewish and Roman culture of that time, rather, the customs, references and objects lead back to the period of the creation of the artefacts (late 16th century).
The scenes refer to the religious struggle waged by the Spanish royals against the Protestants of the Netherlands and Flemish; a struggle that led to the triumph of the Catholic religion, just as the Romans had prevailed over the Jews in 66 AD

All the tapestries tell an episode and have a background full of suggestive elements.

1st Josephus leaves the cave after the fall of his city by Vespasian.

2nd Agrippa, king of Tiberias, defends the city of Josephus threatened with destruction.

3rd Vespasian accepts the nomination as emperor after the death of Nero.

4th Vespasian receives homage from a king of Syria.

5th Vespasian frees Flavius Josephus.

6th Fight between the Jew Jonathan and the Roman Priscus.

7° The priest Jesus of Naboth offers gifts to Titus, son of Vespasian.

8th Sacrifice of Titus to Yahveh, god of the Jews. nbmnmb

For information on opening times call 0923 711327

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