Ruffs in Sixteenth Century Contemporary Venetian Images.

 

Paolo Fiammingo 1590's painting called Dame Veneziane.

This is probably the nicest example of a set of ruffs with an open front Venetian gown.  It also show ruffs worn on closed front dress, and what we may think to be various social statuses of women in that society.

Parrasio Michieli (c. 1525-1578) "Allegoria del pianeta Venere" (detail) Moanco, Alte Pinakothek. "Abbigliamento e Costume Nella Pittura Italiana - Rinascimento" Carlo Bestetti, Edizioni d'Arte - Roma

 

Venetian noblewoman dressed for a public celebration.  Cesare Vecellio's Costume Plates Circa 1590 Venetian Woman with Moveable Skirt, late 16th century Italian school engraving 14 x 19 cm the Elisha Whittelsey collection and fund 1955
Venetian Lady as She Appears at Home.  Album Amicorum of a German Soldier 1595 Los Angels county museum of art Anonymous manuscript Venetian women, showing a Venetian Bride, Noble Venetian Matron, and Venetian courtesan.  Bibliotheque National, Paris.
courtesans and gentlemen Ludovico Possoserrto late C16. Late C16 Venetian woodcuts scanned from QEI Wardrobe unlock'd by Janet Arnold.

 

More beautiful ruffs on closed front Venetian gown.

A Lady in White by Domenico Robust, 1581-84, currently in a private collection. Giovanni Antonio Fasolo, before 1572 Portrait of a Venetian Noblewoman at the age of 18 Mänttä (Finland), The Gösta Serlachius Museum of Fine Arts.
Woman Venetian Nobility.  Cesare Vecellio's Costume Plates Circa 1590 Hans Rottenhammer from 1596 Visitazione con dama Veneziana
Portrait of a woman Oil on canvas  Francesco Montemezzano Portrait of a woman Oil on canvas  Francesco Montemezzano
Parrasio Michieli (c. 1525-1578) "Allegoria del pianeta Venere" (detail) Moanco, Alte Pinakothek. "Abbigliamento e Costume Nella Pittura Italiana - Rinascimento" Carlo Bestetti, Edizioni d'Arte - Roma Venetian Woodcut showing a courtesan.
Venetian Bride on Land.  Album Amicorum of a German Soldier 1595 Los Angels county museum of art. Venetian Lady as She Appears in Public.  Album Amicorum of a German Soldier 1595 Los Angels county museum of art.
The Venetian Ball by Hendrik Goltzius, circa 1584, detail, shows a rare back view of a double ruff.   The smaller one on the bottom, possibly part of a partlet, props up the top, larger one.

    

 

Some Point for Ruffs with Venetian court wear.

    The neck and shoulder ruffs are generally worn as a set, seldom as separates, except for informal occasions like around the house, or when wearing an outer garment such as a loose gown.  

    A lattice partlet is not appropriate to wear with ruffs, sorry.  

    A partlet of silk organza would be most appropriate to wear with a set of ruffs, or a lace partlet with all lace ruffs.  

    Ruffs were worn with both the open front and closed front styles seen in Venice.  Most commonly seen with the closed fronted style of dress, but not unheard of with the open V front dress that was quintessentially Venetian.

    The large standing ruffs  are mostly seen with closed fronted Venetian gowns.  There are some cases of them being worn with the V front gown also, but these are in the minority.

    The line of the ruff and the partlet on a closed front Venetian gown forms a teardrop shape framing the head and face.

    Lace, and most frequently the point lace, edges neck and shoulder ruffs.

    Beads of any description do not appear to be part of the embellishment on Venetian ruffs.

    Standing ruffs can be either of the same height all around, or tapered toward the leading edge.

    Shoulder ruffs are not tapered and appear to be all of a uniformed height.

    Sleeves on the dresses worn with shoulder ruffs are full sleeves.  By that I mean that they did not have the lovely lantern style tops seen on many Venetian dresses.  From pictorial evidence we can deduce that the pattern for these sleeves were relatively fitted at the wrist and the armhole, but loose at the elbow.

    Historically ruffs were made of very fine linen or lawn.  Late C16 silk organza was also used. Also in the very late C16 more lace formed part of the Venetian ruff so that in some cases all of the seen ruff was indeed lace.

    The height of neck ruffs ranged from just below the earlobe to being visible above the crown of the head.

 

It is interesting also to note that nothing more than the smaller ruff attached to a partlet is ever seen in the artworks of the big three of C16 Venetian art.  Those being Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto.

 

NB: A ruff attached to a partlet is a separate concern to a standing ruff.  These are seen sans shoulder ruffs.

 

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All intellectual content, composition, layout, designs and photographs copyright 2007 to Deborah Lane © , 2003 to Deborah Murray © or Mistress Oonagh O'Neill ©. All Original renaissance art works and artefacts are not copyright to Deborah Lane, and are shown for educational use only.  If you see something you'd really like to use, please contact me!

 

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