Renaissance Ladies

“Twelve Ladies of the Italian Renaissance”

These are ‘transcriptions‘ on silk in Batik of “Twelve Ladies of the Italian Renaissance”, incorporated into exclusive quilted wall hangings,  using velvet, silk, rayon and other elegant fabrics, embellished with glass and wooden beads, satin ribbons, pearls and more. The idea for this elaborate series came to me one day in Siena, Tuscany, where I lived for several years. While listening to a transcription of a Vivaldi composition by Bach in the radio, it occurred to me that I could do such ‘transcriptions’ of some of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance – my favorite period in art – which I was privileged to have close-by while living in Tuscany.  I had always wanted to ‘do something’ with these marvelous paintings, but I was not interested in copying or ‘re-interpreting’ them,  no matter in how original a way it would be. But with the ‘transcriptions’ of many composers of works by other composers in mind, I decided to transcribe some of the most stunning womens’ portraits onto a fabric I’ve always loved to work with, silk, using the ancient and very intricate technique of Batik. I had seen my very first Batik as a teenager in a textile gift store in Augsburg, Germany, and became so fascinated with it that I started to take Batik lessons and later perfected my technique in New York.  

The ancient art of Batik  had been brought to Europe by  the Dutch  from Indonesia, especially Java,  during the Dutch colonial times, and it became very popular with textile artisans and artists.  If you are interested not only in the history of Batik, but also in its very intricate and insanely time-consuming technique, here is a very  interesting link  for all that. 

I substituted color with various tones of black, white and grays only, except for the skin. The contours of the figures are quilted through the silk and batting which lets the portraits ‘stand out’ more and also to avoid sagging of the silk. Most of the portraits were taken out of the context of the painting’s composition, such as Botticelli’s “Primavera” for example.

This is one of those challenging series that one does only once in a life time … although for a very short  time I flirted with the idea of  “Twelve Gentlemen of the Italian Renaissance” (thinking of Titian’s elegant “Man with Glove”,  for example). But after finally completing the “Ladies” and realizing the amount of work and time it took, I changed my mind.

 

 

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