Monday, June 22, 2020

Bead Necklaces

A quick project that I worked on last week was some beading. I made these necklaces out of glass and natural gemstone beads, and they will be given as gifts.
These are strung on tigertail.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Giulia de' Medici - A Fascinating Life

Image and article reproduced from
Portrait of Maria Salviati de' Medici and Giulia de' Medici
Portrait of Maria Salviati de' Medici and Giulia de' Medici by Pontormo c.1539

"Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci, but known by the name of his birthplace, the town of Pontorme) was esteemed by the Medici family, rulers of Florence, for his ability to capture the individuality of his sitters, while emphasizing their aristocratic demeanor. Maria Salviati, as in other contemporary portraits of her, wears the clothes of mourning for her deceased husband, the famous military leader Giovanni delle Bande Nere de' Medici (d. 1526). The little girl holding her hand here is Giulia, a Medici relative who was raised in Maria's household after the murder of the child's father, Duke Alessandro de' Medici (1511-1537). As Alessandro was born of a liaison between a Medici cardinal and an African slave, this formal portrait is the first of a child of African ancestry in European art. Giulia grew up with all the status of a Medici and married another aristocrat. Descendents of hers are alive today.
By the nineteenth century, as the painting changed hands, the identity of the figures was lost. Toward the end of the century the painting surfaced again, identified as Vittoria Colonna, a famous Renaissance poet, widow, and friend of Michelangelo. Good portraits of the poet are known today and the widow in the Walters' painting is not her! Presumably because of Colonna's ongoing fame (and the difficulty for a potential buyer to check on such things then), the dealer thought this name would make the painting easier to sell. The problem is that Colonna had no children; so probably to make the painting consistent with its new name, the child was painted out.
Although the painting was acquired by Henry Walters in 1902, little attention was paid to it until after Walters' collection was bequeathed to the city of Baltimore in 1931 and the Walters Art Gallery was established. Then in 1937 the painting was x-rayed and cleaned, revealing the presence of a child. For years the proposed identification of the child was as Maria Salviati's only child, Cosimo de' Medici (1519-1574), who went on to become Grand Duke of Tuscany. According to this theory, Cosimo, as a young adult, commissioned this image of his mother and himself to honor her attention to his upbringing after his father's death. The problem with this solution is that the child is clearly a girl with her hair in braids and a girl's clothing.
 In the 1990s the scholar Gabrielle Langdon proposed that the child was actually Giulia. After her work came to our attention and considerable research was carried out to confirm this proposal, the identification was changed here at the Walters and the idea slowly began to take shape for a project that would eventually become the 2012 Walters' exhibtion "Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe". The accompanying publication, edited by Joaneath Spicer, is available as a free ebook" (available here:

12/31/1969 Examination examined for condition
12/31/1969 Examination examined for exhibition
12/31/1969 Treatment cleaned; x-ray
2/05/1937 Examination examined for condition
2/05/1937 Treatment cradle removed; x-ray
9/10/1940 Treatment coated; loss compensation; other
1/01/1953 Examination examined for condition
12/21/1960 Treatment other; surface cleaned
12/21/1960 Treatment cleaned; coated
1/26/1971 Treatment re-housed
3/01/1986 Treatment loss compensation; coated
12/04/1986 Examination examined for condition
12/04/1986 Treatment examined for condition; other; varnish removed or reduced
12/04/1986 Treatment cradle removed; examined for condition; inpainted; other; varnish removed or reduced
8/01/1987 Treatment cleaned; coated; loss compensation; other
8/01/1987 Treatment coated; inpainted; other; varnish removed or reduced
11/01/2000 Loan Consideration examined for loan
11/12/2000 Loan Consideration examined for loan
11/12/2000 Examination cradle removed; examined for loan
11/12/2000 Examination examined for loan
10/15/2003 Examination examined for loan
10/20/2003 Loan Consideration examined for loan
10/24/2011 Examination examined for loan

Undercover Stories in Art. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980.

Going for Baroque. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995-1996.

Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.

Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's Ginevra de'Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women. National Gallery of Art, Washington. 2001-2002.

The Legacy of Michelangelo. Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit. 2002-2003.

Pontormo, Bronzino, and the Medici: The Transformation of the Renaissance Portrait. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. 2004-2005.

Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton. 2012-2013.

Excursions through the Collection: Portraiture, Adornment, and the Natural World. 2019-2020.

Medici Collections; Riccardo Romolo Riccardi, Palazzo Gualfonda, Florence, prior to 1612 [inventory of 1612, Florence, Archivio di Stato, Carte Riccardi, fil. 258, c.21r-23r, as "un quadro di br.a uno e mezzo della Sig.ra D. Maria Medici con una puttina per mano di Jacopa da Pontormo"] until after 1814 [Florence, Archivio di Stato, Carte Riccardi, fil. 278, as "no 147 un quadro rappresenta un ritratto di donna con una bambina"] [mode of acquisition unknown]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, prior to 1881 [mode of acquisition unknown] [1881 catalogue: no. 79; 1897 catalogue: no. 381, as Sebastiano del Piombo]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.

Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

UFOs and Making Cauls

As you probably know, I have been trying to work through my UnFinished Objects pile(s) while I am in isolation. I have been trying not to start anything new unless it is vital. The last few weeks I have been feeling like my crafting mojo is starting to come back and I have been getting a few things finished. Well, this week I was going through my storage tubs looking for some scarves as it is getting quite cold here. My berets and scarves are in modular tubs under the tubs I keep tie on-sleeves, partlets and girdles in. Rearranging the pile of clear tubs, something caught my eye. I opened the tub and saw these caul pieces. I remembered I had taught a mini-class on caul construction at an A&S night in 2018, and I had obviously put the tub away after the class with the pieces still in it - and totally forgot all about it.
I had to laugh; I just can't seem to escape the UFO pile! Hopefully I can get these finished over the next few weeks and they can be put in the caul tub completed. Also, I suspect that the universe might be reminding me that I need to do a big spring clean and re-organise everything. Hmmm, might wait til it is actually Spring!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Hem Finishing - Brown Dress

I have been working on the final stages of a brown tourney dress that I made early last year. I didn't finish it at the time I made it because I made an error with my Frixion marker that stained the bodice and I have been trying to find a way to fix it. The dress needed hemming, trim and tucks at the hem and some internal finishing and sleeve ties.

                                                                Sewing the seams flat
The hem tucks are tacked and then stitched down by hand
Applying trim at the hem
This is a project that I am working on amongst other things. I would like to add some shoulder puffs too, if I can find the leftover scraps from cutting out the bodice.