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Worldly Luxuries
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Worldly Luxuries: Repetition in Renaissance Textiles

During the Renaissance, Italian ports served as important points of trade with the Middle East, and merchants throughout Europe were eager to purchase the latest goods influenced by these exotic wares.

The exhibition displays Italian, French and Spanish textiles influenced by this Middle Eastern trade and aesthetic tradition, spanning the 1400s-1600s. Woven of sumptuous silk and exhibiting varied weaving techniques and ornamentation, these textiles were costly luxury goods and highly prized by the wealthy merchant classes.

Some of the most popular, although still very expensive, textiles during the Renaissance were monochromatic velvets with repeating patterns used for upholstery, draperies and garments. These examples demonstrate the variety of cut pile designs and printing techniques used for Renaissance textile production.

For groups interested in learning more about the artwork on view in this exhibition, please request a European Art Collection tour and request in the notes that the exhibition be included as part of the tour.

Image: Panel (detail), Italy, ca. 1575–1625. Silk. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 32-22/3.