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2002-2004, 81″ × 43″
Fabrics: silks, cottons.
Techniques: hand applique, hand quilting, hand embroidery, trapunto.
For this accurate rendition of the famous “map of the Chain”depicting Florence in the 1490s, I was challenged by the Guicciardini quilt (about 1300) one of the two world’s oldest quilts now preserved at the Bargello Museum in Florence and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I wanted to use on a wholepiece of silk the same three techniques that were used for the “coltre Guicciardini” more than 600 years ago on a wholepiece of cotton:embroidery, trapunto and quilting.
In this quilt, to add to the three-dimensionality of the buildings, a careful inspection reveals darker side sections of the buildings and “orange wool stuffed” roofs.
The trapuntoed inner borders at the top and bottom quote two verses of Dante’s Divine Comedy. More precisely, on the bottom, Dante’s verses (Paradiso, XV-97) refer to Florence as a city of peace and tranquility protected inside its walls:
“Fiorenza dentro da la cerchia antica,
ond’ella toglie ancora e terza e nona,
si stava in pace sobria e pudica.”
On the top, Dante’s verses (Paradiso, XVI-84), are a beautiful metaphor between the tide that covers and uncovers the seashore as Fortune does with Florence:
“E come ’l volger del ciel del la luna
cuopre e discuopre i liti sanza posa,
così fà di Fiorenza la Fortuna”
The outer border depicts six different floral compositions within garlands that were made in painted ceramic by Luca della Robbia between 1454 and 1456 for the Church of Santa Trinita in Florence.
Surprisingly, in that very same Church that I got married, twenty years later, I rediscovered ” with the “quilter’s eyes”, these delicate bouquet of Renaissance fruits and flowers!