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2000-2002, 140″ x 60″
Fabrics: hand dyed and hand painted cottons, silks, velvets.
Techniques: hand applique, hand quilting, piecing, hand embroidery, trapunto.
A jewel amidst gentle hills, the fortified city of Florence, in 1342, had just survived a flood of the river Arno in 1333 and the first wave of epidemics in 1340, which had decimated its inhabitants. The Brunelleschi dome had yet to come, but the Giotto bell tower was already under construction, thus foretelling better times, when the Renais-sance would soon blossom throughout the city.
Besides the octagonal Baptistry, and the Cathedral with the bell tower in construction next to it, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Bargello, and the Badia, are clearly recognizable. I have meticulously followed the outlines of the city as painted by an anonymous artist of the school of Bernardo Daddi in 1342 in his fresco in the Sala del Bigallo in Florence, where the small scale, monochrome representation of the city of Florence lies at the feet of the Madonna della Misericordia to invoke protection.
In choosing my own colors, I kept in mind the somber mood of the city at those hard times; I hand dyed cottons accordingly and I pieced building after building, each one with its roof, rounded windows, and wooden “soppalco”. The white, green and pink marble facades of the main churches took countless hours of minute piecing. As Boc-caccio recalls in the Decameron, the surrounding hills in the countryside were proba-bly less vulnerable to the calamities of the city; so much so that a group of young men and women had decided to take refuge there.
It is with this in mind that I have imagined those hills, under a full moon night sky, with an approaching woman on horse-back at the far right, bringing hope and life back to the city. Some of the countryside farms and villas, and the woman with horse, are details from my favorite fresco: “The Good Government” by Lorenzetti, in Siena.
For this quilt I have used many hand- dyed by myself cottons in gradations, silks, changing hue light organza silks, and trapuntoed velvets.