Monday, July 1, 2013

Trapunto - Silvana Vannini - Part Two

I am very pleased to offer you an article that I have translated by Silvana Vannini, an Italian lady who reproduced the Guicciardini Coverlet of Florence. The original coverlet resides in storage at the Bargello Museum in Florence and Signora Vannini's reproduction can be found at the Palazzo Davanzati Museum in Florence.

Signora Vannini has also generously created a Trapunto pincushion project to accompany this article which will be posted separately. To reach more readers, I will also be posting the original article in Italian as quite a number of visits to this blog come from Italy.

Other parts of this series of posts can be found here: 

The Guicciardini Coverlet consists of six scenes which describe episodes from the legends of Tristan and Isolde with stitched captions in Sicilian dialect. The piece is thought to have been cut down from it’s original size as there are parts missing from the style of layout which is similar to the more complete piece in London. The Tristan Quilt in London, the larger of the two coverlets, has 14 depictions which occur later in the story. 

Embroidery by Silvana Vannini, designs by Marisa Sardini Silvestri.

Along the left border of the Guicciardini Coverlet are three scenes of Tristan’s arrival at the court of King Mark. The stitched comments for the first scene translate as: How the messenger came to Tristanthe second scene reads: How Tristan and Gorvenal left the court of King Pharamond; the third scene: How Tristan and Gorvenal came before King Mark. The fourth scene is along the bottom and is described: How King Mark invests Tristan

Embroidery by Silvana Vannini, designs by Marisa Sardini Silvestri.

The next four depictions are really two scenes and are framed by borders of four-leafed clover. These two-part scenes depict the departures of both Tristan and Morholt for the islet of St. Samson’s (How Tristan goes to the islet to go to battle and How Morholt went to the islet

Embroidery by Silvana Vannini, designs by Marisa Sardini Silvestri.

and the relative duel between Tristan and the Morholt (How Morholt battles Tristan on horseback and How Tristan battles Morholt and the lance breaks). 

Embroidery by Silvana Vannini, designs by Marisa Sardini Silvestri.

Tristan’s armour and shield bear the Guicciardini coat of arms of three hunting horns. 

Embroidery by Silvana Vannini, designs by Marisa Sardini Silvestri.

Today the reproduction quilt is displayed on a four-post bed in the Camera dei Pavoni [Peacock Bedroom] of the Palazzo Davanzati Museum at no. 13 Via Porta Rossa, Florence, Italy where the original coverlet was displayed from 1956 - 1991. 

The Palazzo Davanzati is a mid-14th century house built by the Davizzi Family and owned  by the Davanzati Family from 1578 - 1838. In 1904 it was purchased by antiquarian Elia Volpi (1838 - 1958) who reopened the Palazzo as a museum in 1910. Purchased by the State in 1951, the Palazzo was reorganized and reopened in 1956 at which time the Guicciardini Coverlet was displayed on loan from the Bargello Museum. The Palazzo Davanzati was closed in 1995 for major restorations and has now been partially reopened with restoration work continuing on the upper floors. There is a large 16th - 19th century lace and embroidery collection on display on the 1st floor that is not to be missed.

The original restored Guicciardini Coverlet is presently kept in a controlled storage environment at the Bargello National Museum at no. 4 Via del Proconsolo, about six blocks away from the Palazzo Davanzati in Florence, Italy and is not on display to the public. 

Although there is a hypothesis that the Guicciardini Coverlet, the Tristan Quilt and a third work of Trapunto which is privately owned were wedding gifts presented in 1395 to Piero di Luigi Guicciardini and Laudamia Acciaiuoli, there are no surviving documents to support this. 

There are many different versions of the story of Tristan and Isolde, dating back to perhaps the late 8th century and the Scottish Highlands. Over the centuries different European countries have added and subtracted to the tales making them relevant to their own peoples. The stories have inspired many artists and scenes from various tales are represented in a wide range of art mediums. On the Guicciardini Coverlet, we find King Pharamond of Gaul or Ferramonte as he was in late 13th century Tuscan prose. We find mention of him in 13th and 14th century Tuscan versions. The Guicciardini Coverlet seems to be freely made up of scenes from a criss-cross of many tales probably well know by the populace at the time.

Trapunto - Silvana Vannini - Part One

Trapunto - Silvana Vannini - Part Three

There is a Trapunto project to accompany this article: Project part one and part two.

To read the Italian version of this article click here.

About the author:
Silvana Vannini lives in the Tuscan countryside. Now retired, she worked as an instructor of Technical Applications, which in Italy meant, tailoring, sewing, knitting, embroidery, drawn thread work and related activities. Her personal studies in Art History led her to create works of embroidery and painting. 20 years ago she discovered quilting and the perfect medium for expressing herself. She makes small works using many varied techniques like embroidery, appliqué, Florentine Trapunto and others which she also teaches at a few Museums and Foundations. In 2011 she participated in a competition with the theme: The Bag - Necessary Accessory. This led to her selection to participate in the exhibitions which were held for the first time in Florence in Via Toscanella it what was the former studio of the Florentine painter Ottone Rosai (1895-1957), and then in Antwerp, Belgium at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. She has donated her reproduction of the Guicciardini Coverlet to the Palazzo Davanzati and is presently working on projects for future exhibitions.

Further reading:
Arthurian Archives VIII. Italian Literature I. Tristano Panciatichiano edited and translated by Gloria Allaire, D.S. Brewer, Cambridge, England, 2002.
Intorno a due antiche coperte con figurazioni tratte dalle Storie di Tristano [Around two antique coverlets with figures from the Stories of Tristan]. Pio Rajna. In the philology journal: “Romania”, XLII, pgs. 517-579, Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion Éditeur, Paris, France, October, 1913.
La “coperta” Guicciardini. Il restauro delle imprese di Tristano [The Guicciardini Coverlet. The restoration of the deeds of Tristan]. Edited by Rosanna Caterina Proto Pisani, Marco Ciatti, Susanna Conti, Maria Grazia Vaccari. Edifir Edizioni, Florence, Italy, 2010. There is now an English language edition available.
Un Trapunto Trecentesco [A Fourteenth-Century Quilt]. Lidia Morelli. In the Italian art magazine “Dedalo. Rassegna d’Arte”, Anno II, Volume III, pgs. 770-783, Casa Editrice D’Arte Bestetti e Tumminelli, Milan-Rome, Italy, 1921-22.

On the web:
There is a hidden section on the Bargello National Museum’s website where you can view good close up photos of the original coverlet before the restoration and read details about the restoration process (text in Italian).

The Italian needlework magazine photographer Miky Dessein has posted a video of the interior of the Palazzzo Davanzati during the period of the 2010 exhibition of both the restored Guicciardini Coverlet and the reproduction on YouTube.

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