This text is a compilation from different, not
verified sources. Read it with reservation
In the thirteenth and
fourteenth century,in Italy, an embroidery style was developed, that became
the basic of that style that nowadays Assisi embroidery is called. In
that time a few monasteries started to make embroideries wherein the design
and motifs were voided, while the contours and background were embroidered
with colored silk. First the outline was drawn on fine linen cloth and
then the contours were embroidered with silk in one color in simple
running stitch or back stitch. Normally this was done in black or brown.Then
the whole of the background was filled in using red, green or yellow filling
stitches. In the sixteenth century the style flourished and spread into
the secular community. Below you can find a picture as an example.
embroidery, Italian, 16th century, silk on white linen cloth.
The motifs were based
on the grotesques, satyrs, demons, ancient mythical beast. In sacred embroidery
you find more birds and animal pairs surrounded by elaborated scrollwork.
These motifs you can find also in other kinds of embroidery as well as
in stone relief's and carved wood in Romanesque churches. See illustration
below. Later, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century these embroidery
techniques fell into oblivion.
sculpture, San Rufino, Assisi
After the new state of
Italy, in 1861, had been founded, a movement came into being to rediscover
and to revive traditional handicrafts. In the seventieth of that century,
a group of rich ladies in Burano, near Venice,took the initiative to let
revive the art of making lace. Possibly one of the motifs was to help
the impoverish population to get some income. Later, to be exact, in 1902,
the “Laboratorio Ricreativo Festivo Feminale San Francisci di Assisi"
was founded, in Assisi. It was a workshop, where poor girls out of the
city, could learn to embroider.
They took the traditional
embroidery techniques and simplified them. Silk dread gave way to embroidery
cotton, the outlines and contours were no longer drawn freely on the cloth,
but were counted out, stitch by stitch. If necessary, the designs were
simplified or they were new made, directly borrowed from the stone reliefs
and wooden choir stalls of the churches. During one visit I made to Assisi,
I recognized several embroidery patterns on wooden chairs that stood in
the churches. The, often complicated borders around the embroideries,
were simplified. The background was done in simple cross stitch. The co
lour schemas stay the same.
From this revival the
style maintained itself, more or less, until now. For the modern times:
continue reading at "about the style".