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- Author cartoon attributed to Michiel Coxie
- Performed by Jan de Kempeneer’s workshop
- Date of production ca. 1550
- Place of creation Brussels
- Dimensions length: 854 cm, width: 480 cm
- Author's designation weaver’s mark in the bottom right corner
- ID no. ZKWawel 1
- Availability in stock
- Collector collection of King Sigismund Augustus
- Acquired date reclaimed before 1 September 1922
- Object copyright Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, 2014
The Jagiellonian tapestry Paradise Bliss is the first fabric of the History of the First Parents series, commissioned by Sigismund II Augustus and created in Brussels during the years 1550–1560. It depicts events of the beginning of the Biblical Book of Genesis (Gen 2.8.–3.20).more
The Jagiellonian tapestry Paradise Bliss is the first fabric of the History of the First Parents series, commissioned by Sigismund II Augustus and created in Brussels during the years 1550–1560. It depicts events of the beginning of the Biblical Book of Genesis (Gen 2.8.–3.20).
The scenes are set on the left-hand side. In the background, the Creation of Adam, and Creation of Eve, as well as the scene God the Father Introduces the First Parents to Each Other is shown. In the main scene Prohibition Against Eating the Fruit, God, pointing at the tree of knowledge of good and evil, warns the first people against eating fruit of this tree. However, they do not listen – on the right one can see Original Sin, and then Exile from Eden as its consequence. The Biblical events take place in a forest landscape, where European and exotic animals and birds can be seen. One of them is the dodo (Raphus cucullatus), an extinct flightless bird that originally lived on the island of Mauritius, which can be seen on the right side. The bordure is filled with a Flemish grotesque with figures of putti, nymphs, and satyrs. In the lower bordure, near the left edge, one can see a chariot with Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, and on the opposite side – Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. In the upper bordure, a light blue cartouche is placed with a Latin inscription that in translation reads as follows: “God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree of life, and as they disobeyed, they were exiled from Eden.”
The tapestry suffered the same fate as the entire collection. On 30 July 1553, it decorated the Wawel Castle interiors on the occasion of the wedding of Sigismund Augustus and Catherine of Austria. In 1572, the king willed the entire collection of the Jagiellonian tapestries to his sisters: Sophie, Catherine and Anna in perpetuity. After their deaths, it was to become the property of the Republic of Poland. The tapestry, along with the whole Story of the First Parents series, was sent to Stockholm in 1578, to one of the heirs, Catherine, Queen of Sweden. It came back to Poland in 1587 or 1591. It was used to decorate the Warsaw Castle on the occasion of the wedding of Władysław IV and Cecilia Renata of Austria in September 1637. During the Swedish Deluge, in the years 1655–1657, it was taken away, along with the whole collection, to an unknown place. In 1666, the collection was deposited by John Casimir at Franciszek Gratta in Gdańsk. Two year later, in February 1671, tapestries borrowed from the collection decorated the Pauline Church and Monastery at Jasna Góra on the occasion of the wedding of Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki and Eleanor Maria Josefa of Austria. In 1724, they were pawned back and entrusted to the Carmelite Order in Warsaw for safekeeping. In the years 1764–1768, after the coronation of Stanisław August Poniatowski, they decorated the Royal Castle in Warsaw. In 1785, they were taken from the Carmelite convent to the Palace of the Commonwealth, and there they were plundered by the Russians and taken to Saint Petersburg. Possession of the fabric was regained from the Soviet Union on 1 September 1922, and it was placed at Wawel on 28 September 1922. The collection was taken out of Poland in September 1939. It was evacuated through Romania, France, and England, and it reached Canada on 13 July 1940. It came back to Wawel in February 1961.
Elaborated by Magdalena Ozga (Wawel Royal Castle), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved