Michiel Coxie - Construction of the Tower of Babel, about 1600

Workshop of Michiel Coxie (Mechelen, Antwerpen, Flanders, 1499 - 1592, Mechelen, Antwerpen, Flanders)

Construction of the Tower of Babel, about 1600

Wool warp (7 yarns per cm); wool and silk wefts, 340.4 x 393.7 cm (134 x 155 in.)


Object details

Accession number



  • Martin Reymbouts, I (1570 - 1619) - primary
  • Michiel Coxie (Mechelen, Antwerpen, Flanders, 1499 - 1592, Mechelen, Antwerpen, Flanders) - primary


Human figures


Woven from cartoons for a Genesis series by the Netherlandish artist Michiel Coxie, I (1499-1592), which Coxie created in about 1560. Although by a different weaver, the Story of Noah tapestries (museum nos. T14w5-s, T27e31-s, and T31e4-s) were also woven after Coxie's designs for the Genesis series. (For more information on this series, see Marthe Crick-Kuntziger's publication listed in the bibliography).
Said to have been installed in the Royal Palace of Caserta.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the antiquarian and dealer Gaetano Pepe, Naples for 4,870 lire on 26 October 26 1897.


Inscribed (upper left, outter guard): Brussels mark
Inscribed (right outter guard, lower end): weaver's mark of Martin Reymbouts, I


Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 13. (entitled "Old tapestry from the Caserta Collection")
Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), p. 168.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), pp. 192-93. (as Flemish, Brussels, late 16th century or early 17th century; the weaver's mark as that of Martin Reynbouts)
Marthe Crick-Kuntziger. "Tapisseries de la Genèse d'Après Michel Coxie." Bulletin de la Société Royale d'Archéologie de Bruxelles (1938), pp. 6, 16, no. 15, fig. 5. (as after Michel Coxie, woven by Martin Reynbouts)
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 7 (14 Oct. 1962), p. 2. (as woven by Martin Reynbouts, Flemish, about 1600)
Jean-Paul Asselberghs. Les tapisseries flamandes aux États-Unis d'Amérique (Brussels, 1974), p. 13. (as after a cartoon attributed to Michel Coxcie, woven by Martin Reynbouts)
Adolph S. Cavallo. Textiles: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1986), pp. 80-83, no. 16. (as woven by Martin Reymbouts; Flemish, Brussels, about 1590-1620)
Jennifer R. Gross et al. Threads of Dissent. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1999), pp. 5-6, ill. (as Flemish, 1590-1620)
Thomas P. Campbell (ed.). Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor. Exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008), pp. 68-70, 75, n30. (as from a 2nd generation cartoon by an unidentified artist after Michiel Coxcie's designs, woven in the workshop of Maarten Reymbouts, Brussels, about 1600)

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