Altar Frontal with Doves - inv. 58

Milan workshop (?), last quarter of the 15th century; Indian workshop (?) early 17th century

Altar Frontal with Doves
silver   silver gilt   silk   velvet  
90 x 240 cm
"à bon droit"
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 58

This altar frontal was bought by Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli. It was probably made in the middle of the seventeenth century, using precious materials of different provenance and from different periods. The three pieces of crimson velvet are of Milanese manufacture from the last twenty years of the fifteenth century, while the four strips of lampas silk decorated with small flowery branches, arranged in a grid pattern, may be Indian work from the early seventeenth century.  The velvet is patterned in a “hexagonal grid” made up of stylized trefoils, each contains a silver dove with a scroll bearing the motto “à bon droit”.  The emblem and the heraldic motto point to the court of the Sforzas, rulers of Milan. The technique and style of the velvet are typical of Milanese manufactures, which reached very high levels and were renowned under the rule of Ludovico il Moro.