Fabrics by Benozzo Gozzoli in the Cavalcade of the Magi

This exhibition suggests a different way of regarding Benozzo Gozzoli’s frescoes in the Chapel of the Magi. It highlights the relationship between painting and economy in 15th-century Florence, where textile manufacturing was the driving sector of production and trade. The Medici family owned factories producing fabrics which were sold throughout Europe. Benozzo was commissioned to paint the Cavalcade of the Magi by Piero de’ Medici in 1459. The textiles carefully portrayed in the frescoes reveal the demand to show their good quality and pattern in detail. This lead many to think that the Chapel would not only be a place for devotion but also a sort of present-day showroom where the marvellous fabrics produced in Medicean workshops could be admired. Particular attention is given to the technological evolution of the loom and to the “mathematics of textiles” – all in all, a cloth is like a Cartesian system where warp and weft stand for the coordinates .

Exhibition Dates

13.11.2008 - 16.11.2008 Florence, Limonaia of Palazzo Medici Riccardi
18.12.2010 - 21.02.2011 Stia (Arezzo), Auditorium of The Woolmill Museum


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