Tomb of Cangrande. Image: Lo Scaligero [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Early Modern Circle 18 September – Professor Anne Dunlop, University of Melbourne

Italy, the Mongol Empire, and Cangrande’s Silk Suit

Monday 18 September at 6:15 pm in the North Theatre, Room 239 Old Arts, University of Melbourne.

Abstract: When the tomb of the medieval ruler of Verona, Cangrande della Scala (ob. 1329), was opened in 1921, it was discovered that he had been buried in a hastily assembled outfit made from local and imported silks. His hat, cape, gown, and hose survived, more or less intact, along with fragments of other textiles. The major fabrics were from Central Asia, a testament to the international trade in textiles, from China to Northern Europe, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, after the rise in the Mongol Empire. Yet despite intensive study, there are still disputes about where Cangrande’s silks were manufactured and how common they might have been in European contexts. This paper will use Cangrande’s textiles as a starting point to discuss larger issues of contact and exchange in the Mongol age.

Anne Dunlop is Herald Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne, and specializes in the Global Renaissance. Before coming to Melbourne in 2015, Professor Dunlop held positions at Yale University and Tulane University. She is the author of five monographs, among them: Andrea del Castagno and the Limits of Painting (2014), Early Modern Faces: European Portraits, c. 1480-1780 (2014) The Matter of Art: Materials, Practices, Cultural Logics c. 1250-1750 (2014) and Art and the Augustinian Order in Early Renaissance Italy (2007).