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Published: 31 October 2020

By Andy Ross

Fabric of Vision - Dress and Drapery in Painting

The realistic depiction of textiles in art is a skilled task and one that may be often overlooked.

In 2002, the National Gallery in London presented an exhibition, Fabric of Vision, that looked at the history of dress and drapery in painting. Accompanying the show was a book, one of which has been added to the studio collection this week. in this comprehensive catalogue, the author, Anne Hollander, explores the use of clothing and costume to depict power, sensuality and meaning in Western art from the ancient world to the 20th Century. The book is divided into chapters on, for example, Restraint and Display, or Form and Feeling. 

Creating the illusion of draped fabric in painting and sculpture has long been a fascination. This painting of the Virgin Annunciate on cloth from the Medieval Galleries in the Victoria and Albert Museum has a contemporary feel even though it was painted around 1500AD. This book should help to make clear the stylistic changes in depicting textiles and how those effects are actually obtained. A fascinating volume and one that promises to be a delight for those long winter nights.