Opera in Silk
Displayed in the Stream Gallery April 5-May 12, 2019 is a large embroidered textile comprised of six 8’x1’ units of yellow satin-faced silk. This textile served as a starting point for student research, including a project written by Claire Kittell (’18). Claire’s project focused on the history of textile, as well as the representation of female heroines in the history of the operas depicted on the textile. The individual scenes depict 18 scenes from 6 Italian operatic works which date to the late 19th-century. Scenes are spaced by lyres, irises, bows, leaves, and scrollwork in an art nouveau style. Each scene is rendered realistically, and captures the essence of popular picture postcards such as those produced by the Alterocca printing house (Virgilio Alterocca, 1853-1910). Students have opportunities to engage with the textile through funded research grants and independent study in Women’s and Gender Studies, Art, Art History, Material Culture, Social History, Music and Musicology, and other interdisciplinary areas of literature and cultural studies.