This unusual retable, embroidered in silk, linen, silver and gold threads with sequins and seed pearls, was made in Spain in 1468 at the behest of Pedro de Montoya, Bishop of Burgo de Osma. His coat of arms is to be found in several places, including in the keystones of the embroidered vaults over the scenes from the life of Christ. The embroidery is of the very finest, making this a work of consummate artistry – a luxury variant of a painted or carved retable.
The conservation of this unparalleled work of art was entrusted to the Abegg-Stiftung. Now that its thorough analysis and careful conservation of the piece have been completed, the retable is to go on show for a few weeks at the Abegg-Stiftung in Riggisberg, pending its return to Chicago. From March 2017 visitors will then be able to admire it in all its former glory as part of the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. An insight view of the conservation work can be seen here.