Bridging Arts

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Fabric in Veronese: rich merchants of Venice

Fabulous fabrics on display at the National Gallery's current Veronese exhibition.
Have been reading T.J. Clark's article on the Allegories of Love in the London Review of Books: reflections on the relationship between fabric, emotion and personality.
The four paintings show different aspects of love:  Infedelta, Disinganno, Rispetto and Unione felice. The emotions in the paintings are visualised not just through the bodies, the composition and the stories being told - but also through the rich fabric.   Everything is 'supercharged', says Clark.
"Hence the famous gaudiness of his surfaces - the shot silk, the rippling silver stripes, the impenetrable brocade, the special acidity of his greens and yellow. His treatment of fabrics makes sense, I think, the moment one grasps it as a language - a specific high diction - in which internal mobilities and resistances are staged in two dimensions."
Scorn/Veronese 'Allegories of Love'

The details: three very different fabrics in Scorn, catching the light and the passion of the sceneGold-rose and silver-grey here....

 A gold-yellow and green gown next to this heavenly dress...

 And orange and gold around the naked lover.
English translations: Infidelity, Scorn, Respect and Happy Union (though there is controversy over rendering 'Disinganno' as 'Scorn'.  Doesn't seem quite right to me either. More here.)