Thursday, July 1, 2010

Alessandro Allori

Sometimes the best way to see examples of Italian needlework is to look at paintings and portraits. I like Alessandro Allori's paintings for exactly this reason. In much of his work you can find examples of lace and embroidery on the clothing and furnishings of his subjects.

Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) was the foster son and student of the artist Bronzino, (whose work is also rich in needlework and textile details).

Until quite recently, images of Allori's works were hard to find, now if you do a Google search however, you can get lost among his meticulous detail for quite awhile.

A detail of Annunciation:

I recently purchased the book: Around the David, The Great Art of Michelangelo's Century, 2003 in which Marina Carmignani has written a chapter on lace and embroidery details in Allori's paintings with particular attention to the works preserved (and recently restored) in the Galleria dell'Accademia museum in Florence which also hosts the David by Michelangelo.

As I was there last year and delighted in the details of Allori's paintings, I have been searching for books on his art that are affordable. This is an excellent book and the chapter preceding the one on lace and embroidery details addresses the "domestic naturalness" of Allori bringing into focus little details like the food and furnishings around the subjects. There is also a chapter addressing the many flowers which are scattered throughout Allori's work and their symbolic meanings.

I really liked this Filet border depicted on this cushion in Allori's work: Madonna and Child with Saints... much so that I think I'll use it on a towel border, you can too, if you like, I charted it:

Allori's works (and others) at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence were restored for the 500th anniversary of the David by Michelangelo.

Please note that not all of the paintings here are on display at the Galleria in Florence.

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