Exhibition: A Taste for the Exotic – European Silks of the 18th Century

 

 

Exhibition dates: 29 April – 11 November 2018

Glamorous fashion in the eighteenth century entailed first and foremost wearing lavishly patterned silks. While the cuts of both ladies’ gowns and men’s attire scarcely changed, new fabric pattern collections came out regularly. Several trends developed. Common to all is a preference for strange-looking motifs and extravagant compositions redolent of exotic worlds. The textile designers who created them were clearly inspired by much sought-after wares imported to Europe by sea from the Near and Far East.

The new exhibition at the Abegg-Stiftung, near Bern, Switzerland,  presents a selection of these brightly coloured silks decorated with chinoiseries or with “bizarre” motifs, as the fantastical designs defying description are now known. The show also includes silks with exotic fruits and plants that were hardly known in Europe at the time, as well as some with intricate patterns reminiscent of oriental ornamentation. The textiles on view in this special exhibition represent a union of exquisite materials, astonishing creativity and technical accomplishment – a fascinating combination that for several decades held sway over genteel society’s taste in fashion.

For more information visit the website of the Abegg-Stiftung

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Exhibition: Friend and Foe – Animals in Medieval Textile Art

Abegg Stiftung - Freund und Feind

Exhibition dates: 24 April – 13 November 2016

Eagles, gazelles, lions or even magnificent peacocks enliven the fabrics with which the elites of society once clothed themselves. These precious textiles are material evidence of aristocratic culture; their depictions of animals play on the privilege of hunting or on the concept of courtly love. Including literary texts, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to medieval verse romances, the Abegg Stiftung’s special exhibition for 2016 illuminates the meaning of these often magical-looking textile images.

For more information, visit the website of the Abegg Stiftung, Switzerland.