Altar Frontal - inv. 3203 a/b

Venice, 15th century

Fragment of an Altar Frontal
silk   velvet  
80 x 42,5 cm
1883 acquisition 
Inv. 3203a 3203b

not on display

This red silk velvet looks like a bas-relief and is of very high quality. The ivory weft forms the more distant of the two planes, while the pattern, colour on colour, is created by the two different heights of the pile. The weaver combined the grid pattern, used for the outlines of the leaves, trunks and thistle flowers, with the “high-low” technique used for the pile. The decorative pattern combines two subjects that were widespread in the fifteenth century: the griccia motif, consisting of large lobed leaves on undulating trunks, and the a cammino motif, with bands of leaves and thistle flowers. The fabric was part of an altar frontal (as shown by the upper band of ornament decorated with a cross), which, in the 19th century, was cut into pieces to be sold separately.