Rare needle art in Dayton, Columbus – Dayton Daily News | Candle Made Easy

World Embroidery Day has just been celebrated on July 30th, so it’s the perfect time to visit “A vision of art and faith.” This exhibition focuses on the Italian artist Ezio Anichini, who lived from 1886 to 1948. Highlights of the exhibition are two intricate embroideries inspired by Anichini’s illustrations, on loan from the Royal School of Needlework in London. In addition to this exquisite handwork, the UD show also features a variety of other Anichini artworks – religious and secular – in the Art Nouveau style.

Featured in Columbus is “‘Raffael – The Power of Renaissance Images: The Dresden Tapestries and their Impact.” These are huge works believed to have been woven from painted compositions created by the Renaissance master Raphael in 1515. These paintings were models for the Acts tapestries commissioned by Leo X for the Sistine Chapel. The exhibition, on loan from the Old Masters Picture Gallery in the Old Masters Picture Gallery (GAM) in Dresden, Germany, also includes 50 other works of art – drawings, prints and sculptures – demonstrating the influence of this important work of art on generations of other artists over four centuries.

An important call

A few years ago, the staff at the Marian Library received an intriguing phone call from John Shaffer, a retired director of arts programming at the State University of New York, Oswego.

DiscoverThe Pine Club celebrates 75 years in Dayton

“He wanted us to know that we had a book in our collection that was illustrated by an artist that nobody really knew much about,” recalls library director Sarah Burke Cahalan. The book was a rare copy of Ezio Anichini’s complete set of pictures. “They were inspired by the Litany of Loreto, a medieval prayer listing titles of the Virgin Mary,” says Cahalan. “This prayer inspired Anichini to make an illustration of each title, which he first published in 1912.” His illustrated version of the litany was so popular that it was reprinted several times.”

The UD exhibition is the first time Anichini-inspired embroidery has been exhibited outside of England. CONTRIBUTION

The UD exhibition is the first time Anichini-inspired embroidery has been exhibited outside of England. CONTRIBUTION

Shaffer, who lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, was fascinated by Anichini’s drawing style after seeing the artist’s illustrations for the “Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri.”

Much to his surprise, Shaffer was able to find very little information about the artist. “What started out as an attempt to satisfy my curiosity quickly turned into a hobby,” he says today. “Through old Italian magazines and books and a growing network of very supportive people, the full picture of Anichini’s remarkable career began to emerge. While his work was never sold by galleries, it was known to thousands of people through the popular press and postcards and posters. He sustained his career as a working artist through one of the most turbulent periods in Italian history – including two world wars and decades of social and political upheaval.”

DiscoverMother-daughter duo buy Ha Ha Pizza: “We look forward to writing our own chapter here”

Shaffer set out to buy up every work by Anichini he could find. Part of his collection is now on display at the University of Dayton. “It’s hard to pick a favorite among Anichini’s many creative endeavors, but I think his illustrations for children’s books were the ones he was most passionate about,” says Shaffer. “His drawings for the Italian editions of Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll and JM Barrie are stunningly beautiful.”

The icing on the cake came when Shaffer discovered that the Royal School of Needlework in London owned 12 tapestries based on Anichini’s rare book illustrations and agreed to loan two of them to Dayton.

John Shaffer is co-curator of A Vision of Art and Faith, currently on view at the Marian Library. He collects artworks by Ezio Anichini. CONTRIBUTION

John Shaffer is co-curator of A Vision of Art and Faith, currently on view at the Marian Library.  He collects artworks by Ezio Anichini.  CONTRIBUTION

John Shaffer is co-curator of A Vision of Art and Faith, currently on view at the Marian Library. He collects artworks by Ezio Anichini. CONTRIBUTION

“Although relatively small, the Director of the Royal School of Needlework, Susan Kay-Williams, estimates that thousands of hours of expert-level hand embroidery went into the creation of the 12 framed panels that once adorned the walls of an English monastery,” says Cahalan . “No one knows the identity of the craftsman who created them.” When the library hosted a webinar on embroidery with Kay-Williams, 600 people signed up from around the world. Since the exhibition opened, needle art enthusiasts from Indiana, Kansas and West Virginia have made the journey to Dayton to see it.

One of the visitors was Mary Corbett from Kansas, who runs a popular embroidery website and blog. “These embroideries have captivated, intrigued and beguiled me since I first heard about them,” Corbett wrote on her website. “My biggest wish was to see her up close – to see her details of the pieces that can only be seen in person.”

Corbett says it was satisfying to get up close to the panels and see all the small details that bring these embroideries to life. “The layering of gold on silk embroidery, the use of bright white threads here and there to give the pieces a sense of ‘sparkle’ and light, the glow of the silk, the luster of the gold — you just can’t get it.” all in pictures,” she wrote, adding that she could spend hours looking at every tiny millimeter of each piece without getting tired of what she was seeing.

According to Cahalan, the digital version of the 1931 book version of the Litany of Loreto in the Marian Library collection has been downloaded more than 3,200 times: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/ul_rare_books/5/

The Dresden Tapestries

The tapestries exhibited in Columbus depict episodes from the lives of Saints Peter and Paul. Originally intended to strengthen the authority of the papacy, they tell the story of the founding of Christianity and the spread of its message throughout the Roman Empire.

While we usually think of a “cartoon” as a humorous drawing, in art history it can also mean a preliminary drawing to scale for a fresco, oil painting, or tapestry.

Woven in 17th-century England at the Mortlake Tapestry Manufacture, the Dresden Tapestries are one of many sets said to have been woven from Raphael’s cartoons. His artwork is considered by many to be one of the most influential works in the history of Western European art. Raphael’s painted compositions are represented in the exhibition with two true-to-scale facsimiles made especially for Dresden and Columbus.

Carole Genshaft, curator of the CMA, says that Raphael, who only lived to be 37, was a cult figure and a superstar in his day. “He was known and loved not only as a painter but also as an architect and as a supervisor of archaeological excavations in Rome, so you will find many references to ancient art in his work. His work inspired subsequent generations of artists.”

Mortlake Tapestry Manufactory (based on designs by Raphael), The Miraculous Draft of Fishes, after 1625. Tapestry, Dresden State Art Collections, Old Masters Picture Gallery. CONTRIBUTION

Mortlake Tapestry Manufactory (based on designs by Raphael), The Miraculous Draft of Fishes, after 1625. Tapestry, Dresden State Art Collections, Old Masters Picture Gallery.  CONTRIBUTION

Mortlake Tapestry Manufactory (based on designs by Raphael), The Miraculous Draft of Fishes, after 1625. Tapestry, Dresden State Art Collections, Old Masters Picture Gallery. CONTRIBUTION

It is estimated, says Genshaft, that the tapestry weaving was performed by four to six men working at each loom, with up to 15 looms in total. It can take a year and a half to make a tapestry. “The cartoons – or copies of the cartoons – were cut into strips that were placed under the looms for guidance to the weavers.”

DiscoverNew Food Hall Shows Wright Dunbar’s Promise: “There’s Much More to Come”

She says what’s important about the tapestries is that they’re status symbols. “Back then, tapestries were more valuable than paintings and were very popular. They were used by religious leaders and also by kings in castles and large estates.”

Genshaft says the designs are the most amazing. “Raphael’s designs changed the evolution of tapestries by incorporating the illusion of a real space with landscapes and architecture in the background much like a painting. They are a departure from earlier tapestries, which were filled with decorative detail. They really give us a glimpse into the world of the High Renaissance, when art was so important, both religiously and politically.”

John Shaffer, co-curator of A Vision of Art and Faith, opens the exhibition at UD. CONTRIBUTION

John Shaffer, co-curator of A Vision of Art and Faith, opens the exhibition at UD.  CONTRIBUTION

John Shaffer, co-curator of A Vision of Art and Faith, opens the exhibition at UD. CONTRIBUTION

HOW TO CONTINUE

What: “A Vision of Art and Faith: The Litany of Loreto and the Work of Ezio Anichini.”

Where: The Marian Library on the 7th floor of the Roesch Library, University of Dayton

Entry: Free

When: 8:30am to 4:30pm weekdays through August 26th. Closed on August 15th.

Park: A parking permit is required for visits from Monday to Friday. To obtain a free parking pass, drive through the main campus entrance on Stewart Street, east of Brown Street, and follow the signs to the visitor parking lot. Stop at the visitor center and ask for a parking pass for Lot B, which is closest to the library’s main entrance.

For more informations: www.udayton.edu

How to proceed:

What: “Raffael – The Power of Renaissance Images: The Dresden Tapestries and their Effect”

Where: The Columbus Museum of Art, Second Floor, 480 E. Broad St., Columbus

When: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday and 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Thursday. Until October 30th.

Entry: $18 for adults, $9 for seniors (60+), students (18+) and children (4-17), free for members and children under 3 years old. Admission to special exhibition Raffael – The power of Renaissance images: The Dresden tapestries and their effect is an additional $10. Admission is reduced on Thursday evenings; General admission is $5 on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and admission to the Thursday night special exhibit is $5. On Sundays general admission is free for everyone. If you are a member of the Dayton Art Institute, regular museum admission is waived.

Park: $7.

Visit columbusmuseum.org for tickets and information on lectures and talks by scholars and curators.

Leave a Comment