Merchants, princes and painters

MONNAS Lisa

Merchants, princes and painters : silk fabrics in Italian and Nothern paintings, 1300-1550

New Haven : Yale university press, 2008, 1 vol. (XI-408 p.)

ISBN 978-0-300-11117-0

N 2540

Résumé :
Covering a period that witnessed the flowering of the Renaissance and the major expansion of the Italian silk industry, this volume examines the silks depicted in paintings from Italy, England and the Netherlands over the course of 250 years. Through a close study of the workshop practice and techniques of the artists who represented these fabrics, Lisa Monnas offers a masterly evaluation of the paintings as source material for classifying surviving textiles. Dealing with an exceptionally long period, she considers a great many examples in greater depth than has ever been attempted, and gives particular attention to the identification of historic textile types and their weave structure.
Monnas examine a vast range of subjects, including silk as a marker of social status, the material possessions of artists and their ownership of textiles as props, the involvement of painters in silk design, and the repetition and transfer of patterns. She considers the evidence of paintings not only for the veracity with which the silks are depicted but also for its value as a period of two and a half centuries, tastes and patterns of consumption altered, and these changes, which can be traced through documentary sources, are also reflected in the paintings. The conclusion of this impressive analysis brings the discussion full circle by looking at the reincarnation, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, of silk designs taken from late-medieval and renaissance paintings, reproduced as wallpapers or woven as new fabrics (some of which are still in production today).
This important and desirable book – beautifully illustrated with several unfamiliar paintings and with surviving fabrics, some of which have never been reproduced before – not only re-evaluates the dating and identification of individual textiles, but also brings fresh insights into the material values of the artists and their clients. Its aithoritative and original approach to both fabrics and paintings makes it of inestimable value to historians of textiles, art and material culture alike.

Table des matières :

Introduction
1. Who wore silk ? The price of silk fabrics, artists’ clothing and studio props
2. Painters and the design of woven silks
3. Cloth of gold in fourteenth-century Sienese and Florentine paintings
4. Painting velvet in Italy and the Netherlands during the first half of the fifteenth century
5. The transmission of textile designs in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Netherlands paintings
6. Decorative silks in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Italian paintings
7. Textiles in portraits Venice, Florence and England, 1480-1550
8. Convetion or reality ? Reading textiles in paintings
9. A life of their own : the longevity and changing use of silk fabrics
Epilogue : Nineteenth-century english textiles and wallpapers designed after fabrics shown in medieval and renaissance paintings

Appendices
I. Looms, textile types and historic terminology (includes glossaries of weaving, dress and painting terms, measurements and money)
II. Letter of William Makefyrr, 1506
III. Vestments woven with Christ and St Thomas in Rome and Florence
IV. Copes with named benefactors with dates attached, extracted from the ninety-one copes in the inventory of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, 1295
V. The terms paonazzo and morello
VI. Letter concerning an order of clothing for the contessa de Melzo, 1475
VII. Carpets at the early Tudor court
VIII. Abridged genealogy of the Medici family

Tables
1. Selvedge colours on italian silk fabrics, 1376-1466
2. Loom widths of italian silks, thirteenth-sixteenth centuries
3. Weaving prices specified by the Florentine silk guild, 1429
4. Prices of silk and wool from a wardrobe account of Edward IV, 1480
5. Prices of silk purchased for the great wardrobe of Henry VIII, 1533-1534
6. Textiles and clothing given to Dürer, purchased by Him or given Him, on his journey to the Netherlands, 1520-1521
7. Neri di Bicci’s Ricordance : Purchases of cloth, december 1453-january 1461
8. Extracts from the coronation account of Edward VI, 1547

Axe de recherches :

  • Axe transversal : Cultures visuelles

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