Following the cleaning of Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel (1982-1990), it was possible to finally see and understand the textiles used by the master to depict the ancestor’s of Christ. Michelangelo’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were actively engaged in the textile trades in Firenze. The painter used a two-color fabric called cangiante in Italian and sarcenet in English, to represent the people from the land of the Saracens (i.e. the Middle East). This message was readily understood by the Italian population in the first decade of the 16th Century. Graphic sources for Jewish costume, elements of ‘cross-dressing’ and the ‘secret world’ he painted will be explored and discussed.
The research on the “Costumes of the Ancestor’s of Christ” by Edward Maeder that was presented at the Vatican Congress following the first phase of the restoration of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in 1990 has continued to develop. Prior to the cleaning it was impossible to tell the colors and in many cases even the forms of the costumes from 65 feet away. Centuries of grime had obliterated details and the fact that Michelangelo had created a tour-de-force of Old Testament biblical figures that was based on Hebrew texts and non-Christian individuals.
Recent scholarship has opened an exciting new chapter on Michelangelo’s art, clarifying what he was forbidden to say but managed to say anyway. The book THE SISTINE SECRETS: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican by Rabbi Benjamin Blech and art historian Roy Doliner has investigated what is one of the most famous works of art in western civilization. The relationship of the artist to humanist, neo-Platonic and Jewish history is vividly illustrated in this monumental work. The book published in 2008 by Harper Collins will be for sale at the talk.
The depiction of Jews in a variety of forms, color, and clothing, as seen in Christian art from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance is will be examined in this presentation. Edward Maeder is passionate about textile and fashion. Over the past 30 years he has been a curator at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, founding director of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, and curator of Textiles and Director of Exhibitions at Historic Deerfield. He has lectured in 36 states and 12 foreign countries, has taught at American and foreign universities. He is currently consulting for PBS and developing workshops, seminars and new lectures.
Schoen Books is located in the Old Firehouse (7 Sugarloaf St.) in South Deerfield.
-Lectures begins at 2:00 pm with a Q&A.
-$10 fee. Payment is by credit card or check made out to Schoen Books.
-Seating is first-come-first-serve, so please call for reservations.
-Parking is on the street, in the bank lot next door, or in the town center parking.
-Contact Ken Schoen or Jane Trigère of Schoen Books: (413) 665-0066.
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