Extant Clothing

Woman's Coat - Venice (Zimarra)
© RMN: http://www.photo.rmn.fr/  ECL11483
Collection: Decorative Arts
Title: Dress with geometric decoration in brown, violet and straw
Description: last quarter 16th century 1st quarter 17th century
Period: 16th century, 17th century
Material: silk (textile) - Scroll to bottom of page for a close-up
Production site: Venice
Height: 1.290 m.
Location: Ecouen, National Museum of the Renaissance
"The so-called Venetian coat in the National Museum of the Renaissance is one of the rare costumes from the end of the 16th century conserved in France. The fabric is composed of a network of small juxtaposed lozenges in brown silk on a rose colored base, similar to the small child’s garment preserved in the Landesmuseum in Detmold.

The coat in Ecouen has a rigid collar that surrounds the head, and a part of the sleeves are artificial and provide an elongated look to the silhouette, similar to the engraving representing a Venetian woman in the book “Habits des diverses nations” by Pierre Bertellis, edited in 1594. This type of sleeve without doubt came from the heritage or an occidental interpretation of an Ottoman caftan, where the long false sleeves were seen to provide the wearer with the illusion of great power.

This coat was worn over a gown and a portrait of Eleanor of Toledo painted by Bronzino, conserved at the Palazza Vecchio in Florence, shows the grand Duchess wearing such a coat with a rigid collar, open over a red gown and features a fabric bearing the same network of lozenges.

These elements thus permit the coat to be attributed to Italy at the end of the 16th century."

From page 118 of Quand les Pricesses d'Europe Brodaient - Broderie au Petit Point, 1570 - 1610, by Maria-Ann Privat-Savigny, a conservator at the Musee national de la Renaissance in Ecouen. This excerpt provided and translated with many thanks to Katherine Barich.

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© 2001 - 2011 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.