Anonymous: Emperor Vespasian Cured by Veronica's Veil (1510)

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA)

A tapestry made by unknown 16th century Flemish artists. This piece shows a Mediëval legend regarding the Roman emperor Vespasian (reign A.D. 69 – 79). According to the tale, Vespasian was the son of emperor Titus (in reality Titus was the son of Vespasian) and suffering from leprosy and promised riches to everyone who might be able to cure him. A knight from Capernaum told Vespasian that an object which was touched by Christ might be able to heal him. After a long search, saint Veronica was brought before Vespasian. Holding the cloth with which she had wiped perspiration from Christ’s face as he carried the cross on the road to Calvary, Vespasian was miraclesly healed when he touched the veil. Wishing to convert to Christianity and to show his dedicating to his new faith. Vespasian travels to Jerusalem to avenge Christ and to execute everyone who was involved in Christ's death. Vespasian besieges Jerusalem and when the city finally surrenders, the Jews of the city were sold into slavery for the price of thirty pieces of silver (just as Judas Isacriot had received 30 pieces of silver for his betrayel of Christ). Vespasian frees saint Joseph of Arimathea (the man who assumed responsibility for the burial of Christ after Jesus' crucifixion), Christianizes Rome and places the empire under the spiritual authority of pope Clement I (pontificate A.D. 88-99). The entire story is completely fictional, save for the siege of Jerusalem which was taken during the First Jewish–Roman War (A.D. 66–73). the tapestry shows Vespasian as a man with a long white beard and crown who approches saint Veronica who shows her veil. Tapestry from around 1510.




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