History of European Textiles

As a highly sought-after commodity in world trade, textiles offer the possibility for a multifaceted study: art history; social, cultural, and economic history; and technology. This survey focuses on European production from the late medieval period to the 1925 Art Déco exhibition in Paris. The potent influence of Far and Middle Eastern textiles on the output of the West after the opening of trade relations between Asia and Europe will also be discussed. Major groups of textiles examined include Italian Renaissance velvets; 17th- and 18th-century Italian and French laces and woven silks; Tudor and Stuart embroidery; 18th- and 19th-century English and French printed cottons; and printed and woven fabrics of the Arts and Crafts, art nouveau, and Art Déco movements. The use of textiles in clothing and interiors as indicators of wealth, status, and taste is considered throughout. Field trips include the Ratti Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cora Ginsburg Antique Textile Gallery. 3 credits.