Features of venetian textiles of the 15-16 centuries on the samples from the Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Museum of Arts

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Kateryna Dmytryienko


Introduction. Venetian textile, and especially velvet of the 15th and 16th centuries, became very famous in many parts of Europe and Asia. It is an integral part of textile art, and also an important historical source for researchers.

Purpose. There are many unstudied samples of Venetian textiles on the territory of Ukraine. Nevertheless, the Khanenko Museum keeps incredibly valuable examples of Venetian fabrics that were not previously explored. Thus, the goal is to examine some samples of fabrics from this museum in the context of textile art of the 15-16 centuries.

Results. During the research, the main features of the formation of the textile industry in the Republic of Venice were determined. Weavers from Lucca, who moved to Venice enriched the knowledge of the venetians about the technology of textile art. In addition, since the 12th century Venetian textiles were copying Asian motifs and ornaments that were brought to the republic through Byzantium. Due to strict quality control of fabrics, venetian textiles, and especially velvet, have become one of the best quality in Europe.

During the research, several samples of Venetian textiles from the Khanenko Museum were studied in the context of venetian textile art. One of the velvets, decorated with the motive of a pomegranate, proved to be a very valuable specimen of Venetian fabrics. On its edge was discovered a sign that indicates using of very expensive materials for its production. This sign, first of all, suggests that a very high-quality dye "kermes" was used for painting the fabric, which was very expensive.

The second image of velvet from the museum turned out to be part of the clothing, thanks to which the Venetian senators underlined their aristocratic origins. There are only a few such samples in world museums.

Textiles similar to the third explored model could be produced in several regions of Italy, as cartons to silk fabrics were distributed in many weaving workshops. Thus, the origin of the investigated silk fabric has not yet been determined, but, most likely, it was also made in Venice, or in Florence.

Conclusion. Despite its originality, the textiles of the Venetian Republic were nevertheless influenced by samples from the East, transforming them and creating unique designs. Since Venice has long been a trading city and famous for its close contacts with both Asian and European countries, its glorious textiles have spread to many regions.

In the context of the textile production in 15-16th centuries, several samples of tissue of that time, which are stored at the Khanenko Museum, were studied. Unstudied earlier, they have proved to be extremely valuable examples of Italian textiles that are currently stored in Ukraine. In the future, they can be used for a deeply study of international cultural ties, the spread of certain ideas and traditions in society and other interdisciplinary researches.

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