Venice, second half of the seventeenth century
The seventeenth century is the century of the Baroque, of the triumph of shape more than of content, in which the ephemeral and the ceremonial are the standards of everyday life.

The Italian society of that time was subjected to the domination of Spain and the Catholic counter Reformation that caused a rigid control of the Church over the entire Italian intellectual and literary life. We are inside a very rich, aristocratic room, with an adjoining chapel, in a Venetian palace with four figures: a man, standing, a lady, sitting on a large Baroque armchair holding a small perfume bottle in her left hand, a child with a flower in her hand, and, not too far, a priest beside the entrance of the chapel.

Despite the fact that the costumes and the peculiar fontange hairstyle of the lady are inspired by the French fashion of the end of the century, the setting is pretty Venetian, with the representation of the precious miniaturized lace (ROSE STITCH, PUNTO NEVE, PUNTO CORALLINO) created by the Serenissima to compete with the rapid increase of the diffusion of the POINT DE FRANCE.
  • To compete with the remarkable popularity, even in our country, of the point de France, it was necessary to invent something new; Venice therefore launched on the fashion stage of the end of the seventeenth century the rose stitch: the decorative motives and the reliefs are miniaturized, the padding is no longer used, the inflorescences are represented in a much more stylized way and in much smaller size, braiding and overlapping as in a very intricate and disorganized whirl. (D.D. Poli, Il Merletto Veneziano, Novara, 1998, pp. 70-72).
  • Around 1680 the Serenissima, with another flash of brilliance, created two other new types of lace: the first is composed of tiny decorative elements, so small as to give the impression of a magic night snowfall. An authentic triumph. In the punto corallino, the miniaturization goes a step further and the space appears entirely filled with an intricate forest of thin branches moving in all directions and echoing the ramifications of sea corals. (A. Cantagallo, Ricamatori e Merlettaie, Foligno, 1991, p.77).
  • A legend has it that the punto corallino was inspired by a branch of sea coral given by a sailor to his fiancée before he left. The young woman, a Venetian lace maker, had the idea to reproduce the coral branch in her needle work and began to imitate it. The result was so amazing that, soon, other lace makers reproduced it too, spreading the technique of this precious lace. (A.M.S., Point and Pillow Lace, London, 1899, p.49).
  • The beauty of Italian lace was already established during the Renaissance; the person who first contributed to spread the refined Italian taste abroad was Caterina de Medici, who married Henry II of France in 1533. When she moved to France, she brought with her a rich wardrobe, with lots of furnishings, gowns, jewels and, of course, her lace, besides a lace-pattern designer, the Venetian Federico Vinciolo. (M. Eirwen Jones, The Romance of Lace, London, 1951, p. 37).
  • The fast spreading and success of Venetian lace at the end of the seventeenth century were undoubtedly favoured by the revocation of the Nantes edict that harshly hit France, since about 200.000 French Protestants, mostly craftsmen and people belonging to the rich middle class, were forced to expatriate, and establish their commercial activities abroad so enriching the coffers of their new countries. (A. Cantagallo, Ricamatori e Merlettaie, Foligno, 1991, p.77).
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