A helpful resource for those looking at 14th-century Venice is this post on the Carthago Delenda Est blog, which I’ve reposted below.
“First I found images by the painter Giotto. Giotto was a Florentine by birth but ranged all over Italy, including the famous Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, which is part of the Veneto. Giotto finished painting a cycle of the Annunciation there in 1305. In these two paintings, Giotto shows a similar style to the ladies above with the women in red. Both have half sleeves on the outer layered dress, small rounded hats, braided hair, heavy neckline and sleeve decoration, and the one on the right has a contrasting color on her mantel.
Next, the painter Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Siena 1290 – 1348, shows a similar neck and sleeve decoration in this painting, though her dress is unbelted:
Then I found Paolo Veneziano, official painter to Doge Andrea Dandalo, who has been described as “the most important Venetian painter in the 14th century.” According to Wikipedia, who is usually good for dates, he was born before 1333 and died sometime after 1358. In these two paintings, you can see the similar style again, with wide decorated necklines and bands around the arms just above the elbow, belted high for our ladies and low for our androgynous angels (who are in heavily decorated fabric!):
The woman in pink also has a slit in her dress and she holds the front corner up showing either an underdress or underskirt or her chemise. The woman in blue is more ambiguous as to if her dress is split or parted at all since it’s up on her knees. This is evident in other Italian paintings however, and I’ve seen the skirt underneath both shown of as fashion in other contrasting colors or in plain old white.
Next we have a painting that cinched the deal for me in terms of style, also by Veneziano:
In this painting, there are three ladies, though only two are visible. One, in green, has a moderate round neck with tight sleeves that feature the armband decoration. The other, in blue, has a wider neck and the armband decoration but has short sleeves with a lighter lining. Half sleeves are fairly common in medieval fashion, so it is possible that the lower blue sleeves are half sleeves that are detached, or, both tight and short sleeves are sewn in. Both gowns feature long skirts that drape on the ground and delicate circlet crowns.
I’ve taken a fondness to this blue dress and it’s more unique Venetian stylings but overall simple design. I’ve decided to use it as my model for a Venetian gown in the early 1300’s and have kept my eyes out for a beautiful shade of blue to use.
To be continued…”
To read the entire blog post visit:
carthago delenda est: these being the words of Marcus Portius Cato