The set of Tapestries at St John’s Co-Cathedral was a gift made by the Aragonese Grand Master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful to the church upon his election in 1697. The Statute of the Order stated that newly elected Grand Masters would present the conventual church of the Order with a gift on their appointment. The tapestries are the largest complete set in the world and consist of twenty-nine pieces ordered from the weaver Judocus de Vos in Brussels. The set reached Malta by 1702.
The tapestries depict the Triumph of the Eucharist and scenes from the life of Christ. The designs of the tapestries about the Eucharist were based on cartoons made by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens that he had originally made for the Infanta Isabella of Spain. The scenes depicting the life of Christ are based on other master pieces by Rubens and Poussin. Fourteen panels represent the Virgin Mary, Christ the Saviour and the Apostles and the Grand Master Perellos’s full length portrait complete the set. The tapestries were made to hang from the cornice along the nave of the church during important occasions such as the feast of St John the Baptist. The tapestries were woven entirely from the finest wool and silk yarns and measure six meters in height. The large dimensions and the exuberant character of the designs make this set one of the most spectacular interpretations of baroque art and brought the most dazzling embellishment to the church. The set of tapestries was one of the most outstanding gifts the church received. This set of tapestries was an expression of the supremacy of the Catholic Church and the munificence of the Grand Master and the Order.
Not on display.