Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550

Lisa Monnas

Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550

Covering a period that witnessed the flowering of the Renaissance and the major expansion of the Italian silk industry, this volume examines the Italian silk fabrics 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 detailed evaluation of the paintings as source material for classifying surviving textiles. Dealing with an exceptionally long period, she considers a large number of 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 examines a wide 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 their value as a historic source concerning the use of fabrics. 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Art, Architecture & Photography
Format Hardback
Pages 352
RRP £40.00
Date of Publication October 2007
ISBN 978-0300111170
Publisher Yale University Press
 

Covering a period that witnessed the flowering of the Renaissance and the major expansion of the Italian silk industry, this volume examines the Italian silk fabrics 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 detailed evaluation of the paintings as source material for classifying surviving textiles. Dealing with an exceptionally long period, she considers a large number of 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 examines a wide 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 their value as a historic source concerning the use of fabrics.

Reviews

The Guardian

Veronica Horwell

Monnas's sumptuous book prints page after page of people and locales draped in brocades adapted from those created by craftsmen (and I mean men) in expensively capitalised, usually Italian, workshops. I drooled over the first 100 or so images - Van Eyck's copes! Crivelli's robes! But the grandeur grew pompous without linen's mitigation between the sublime and the intimate.

31/01/2009

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