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Tapestry showing the Triumph of Constantine over Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
From the series known as "The History of Constantine the Great"

Figural composition designed in 1622 by Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish (active Italy, Antwerp, and England), 1577 - 1640. Woven at the Comans-La Planche tapestry factory, Paris. Workshop of Filippe Maëcht and Hans Taye, Flemish.

Made in Paris, France, Europe


Wool and silk with gold and silver threads

15 feet 11 inches × 24 feet 5 inches (485.1 × 744.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Great Stair Hall Balcony, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1959

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This tapestry comes from the series known as "The History of Constantine the Great," seven of which were presented to Cardinal Francesco Barberini by Louis XIII of France in 1625.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    In 1625, King Louis XIII of France presented papal envoy Cardinal Francesco Barberini with a series of seven tapestries, designed by Peter Paul Rubens and woven in Paris, on the life of Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. This tumultuous scene from the series represents the battle of the Milvian Bridge near Rome in A.D. 312, when Constantine defeated Maxentius to become sole emperor in the West. Upon returning to Rome, Cardinal Barberini established his own tapestry works and commissioned Pietro da Corona to design additional tapestries for the Constantine series. Both Rubens and Cortona were great masters of the Baroque, a dynamic art ideally suited for just such large-scale, complicated narratives as the Constantine story. The Museum's thirteen Constantine tapestries form the Barberini collection, reunited by the Kress Foundation in the 1950s, permit a rare comprehensive demonstration of the Baroque style and form an appropriately sumptuous decoration for the second-floor balcony of the Museum's Great Stair Hall. Dean Walker, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 130.

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