Wednesday 2 October 2013

Textiles From Susanna Bathing * Albrecht Altdorfer 1526

Needlework apart, I have a great love for architecture, its details and its history, so while I was browsing some Albrecht Altdorfer paintings on the web, it was like finding architectural heaven when I came across this image and that staggering Renaissance fantasy of a palace. The painting's subject is not in fact The Emperors' Palace or anything of that ilk, but Susanna Bathing. At the bottom left you can just see Susanna and her attendants - the group of three women near a small pool. They seem almost incidental to the painting. But then I zoomed in to take a closer look at the textile they were arranged around, it didn't seem at a distance to be the standard Turkey carpet. In fact the rug has a textile character all of its own and reminds me more of Nordic weavings than anything else - maybe one of our Scandinavian readers can help here? Then I noticed the blue embroidered band on the towel which is over the shoulder of the girl washing Susanna's feet.  And then the black embroidered bands round the hem of the red dress - and last but not least, the very fine linen, almost see-through - underskirt or shift worn by Susanna herself. What a feast of textiles here!

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