ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  book reviews, articles

  In München entworfen, in Mailand gestickt
ein Prunkreitzeug Kurfürst Maximilians I. von Bayern,

von Brigitte Volk-Knüttel
in german

in: Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, dritte Folge Band LI 2000, Sonderdruck
p. 137-157

  In occasion of the reunion of electors from July 3rd to November 12th 1630, the elector Maximilian Ist of Bavaria ordered new splendid riding-things:
saddle cloths, saddle and harness, blinders, stirrups, pistol holsters, straps, etc.

The textiles are from red velvet and with gold embroidery. Only electors were allowed to use velvet, silk, silver and gold for their own horses, and these items were kept together with tapestries and other precious textiles. Today they are preserved in the castel of Nymphenburg near Munich.
Most of the embroidery was executed in Milano (Italy). The design had been made by the court painter Wilhelm Schoepfer (he died in 1634) from Munich.
The merchant Andreas Fasser (died 7 January 1641) dealt with fabrics, with gold and silver yarns. He had good connections to Milano and also close relations to the silk embroiderer's craft. He must have arranged the execution of this masterpiece of art.

"Kredenzdecke", photo from 1876

  Milano, e centre of embroidery was one of the richest European Capitals, and its economic wealth was a consequence of its arts and crafts.
The contemporary writer Paolo Morigia said in 1592 in his " Historia dell'Antichita di Milano" that there were more embroiderers in Milano than in any other italian towns. And these embroiderers worked a lot in gold and silver.
The famous flag of Milano, finished in 1566 was worked by Scipio Delfinone and we know that he also made riding things. It seems that they were a speciality of Milano. Towards the end of 16th c. Caterina Cantoni was a very famous embroideress here. She was reputed as the inventress of "punto Cantona", an embroidery stitch who had an equal look on both sides of the fabric.
Pompeo Berlusconi (see Binaghi, 1994/5, p.106-109) was renowned for his friezes and ornamented parts. One of his altarfrontals looked very similar to the clothes of Munich.

"Waltrappe (saddle cloth)",
castle of Nymphenburg near Munich


detail of "Waltrappe"

  Since the 1620s there were political struggles between France and Spain and a general decline in Northern Italy, in 1630 there were years of the Plague. Due to the Tirty Year's War foreign customers did not come any longer to Milano.
The georgeous embroideries for Bavaria were made shortly before the Plague in Milano and also before the years of pestilence in Munich in 1634.

Milan Embroidery 16th and 17th c, as quoted in the article:
Gilda Rosa, Le Arti minori dal 1530 al 1630, in: Storia di Milano. X. L'eta della Riforma cattolica (1559-1630). Milano 1957, p. 828-858.
Maria Teresa Olivari Binaghi, Delphinone. In: Dizionaria biografico degli italiani. Bd. 36, Roma 1988, p. 554-558.
Maria Teresa Binaghi, I ricamatori Milanesi tra rinascimento e barocco. In: I tessili nell' età di Carlo Bascapè, vescovo di Novara (1593-1615)(exhibition cat.), Novara 1994/95, p. 97-123.


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