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Master: The Story of Abraham Series
Item: The Separation of Abraham and Lot, Genesis Ch. 13, v. 8-9

Luxury hangings for royal residences

Raphael (Urbino 1483-Rome 1520)

The Conversion of the Proconsul c.1515-6

RCIN 912948

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Tapestry weavers worked from full-size drawings known as cartoons, often designed by a well-known artist. Following his election to the papacy in 1513, Pope Leo X commissioned Raphael to design a set of tapestries depicting episodes from the Gospels and from the Acts of the Apostles for the Sistine Chapel. As Raphael would have no control over the weaving of the tapestries in Flanders, he devoted an unusual amount of his own time to preparing the cartoons which served as models for the weavers. This cartoon is for the tapestry of The Conversion of the Proconsul, an episode in the life of St Paul. In 1623 seven of the cartoons from the series were bought by Charles I (1600–1649), when Prince of Wales, and copies of the Sistine Chapel tapestries were made from them at Mortlake. One of Raphael's preparatory drawings for this cartoon is also in the Royal Collection (RCIN 912750).