Greetings from the Governor of the Province Arno Kompatscher
The Alps are a natural obstacle between Central and Southern Europe. Only the large Inntal, Wipptal, Eisacktal and Etschtal valleys offered the possibility to reach the Brenner Pass and the Reschenpass and to overcome the barriers. This explains why the area of the current countries of Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino has always been a central intersection of European roads and thus a transit country for transeuropean trade across the Alps. This favoured and shaped in particular the cultural and economic development of this area.
The cross-border exhibition “Velvet and Silk in the historical Tyrol 1000 – 1914” shows exactly this through the example of the textile sector. In important historical places it is shown how the particular geographic location made the area of historical Tyrol an important point for textile production and textile trade.
My special thanks go to the European Textile Academy, creator of this exhibition, for this important cross-border initiative.
I wish to all visitors an interesting insight in the art, culture and economical history of an area, which is still a bridge between North and South, and in the historical development of the textile sector, which was, together with the mining sector, an important factor for the industrial development of this economic area.
Velvets and Silks in historical Tyrol (1000 – 1914)
The European Textile Academy is organising a travelling exhibition from 11 April to 30 October 2017 entitled “Velvets and Silks in historical Tyrol”, in Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino. This exhibition, in conjunction with the exhibition hosts and influenced by the cultural and historical events which occurred during that historical period, provides insight into works of textile art that were created in those places and which are international today. Indeed as from the 11th century, the dominant political classes, monarchs and clergy incentivised an economic developmental model based on the art and culture of textiles.
The specific location of historical Tyrol, which acted as a link between the cultures to the north and south, made the area a natural hub for the textile trade and crafts at the European level. Both the artistic and craft textile creations acted as inexhaustible sources of information and in fact we have two questions at this point: where did the ideas and technical production know-how come from and how did the local culture and ambitions of the designers develop? The changes in social structures as well as the improved economic conditions, at least for those in power and the aristocracy, during the Middle Ages encouraged the populace to improve their own clothing and living space.
In the High Middle Ages, finely crafted fabrics were reserved for the clergy and the aristocracy; the uniqueness of these materials, together with their preciousness, stemmed from an artistic assembly of high-quality fabrics finely decorated in gold and precious stones.
Hofburg Innsbruck was the favourite residence of the Habsburgs and since the 14th century, it has been one of the most important cultural and historical constructions in the Alps. Its current state dates from the reign of Emperor Maximilian I, when it underwent Baroque structural changes under Empress Maria Theresia, who enriched it with a series of new paintings that bear witness to the fashion for clothes in velvet and silk. During the 19th century, precious fabrics were created with velvet and silk linings for Empress Elizabeth, and these can still be admired today in all their authenticity and beauty.
Empress Elizabeth’s writing room in the Hofburg Innsbruck around 1860
Foto: © BHÖ (Foto Wett)
The Diocesan Museum in Brixen/Bressanone possesses an extraordinarily rich collection of magnificent costumes from the High Middle Ages: one is the chasuble of Bishop St Albuin made from Byzantine Imperial silk, which is one of the most precious of the medieval period in Europe. Another rare example on display is the costume of the blessed Bishop Ermanno dating back to the 12th century, and, after an expensive restoration, the “Chasuble of Saint Vigilius”, also from the 12th century, is now being displayed for the first time.
Detail of the chasuble of eagles (Chasuble of Albuin) in the Diocesan Museum in Brixen/Bressanone
In the Mercantile Museum in Bozen/Bolzano, artefacts from the Menz collection, as well as documents and correspondence from the order of merchants of Bozen/Bolzano provide information about trade relations in textiles that were international even then. The costumes and accessories originating from different factories operating in the 18th and 19th centuries are displayed in the auction room of the Mercantile Museum and provide insight into various styles of clothing and textiles over the centuries.
Female costume from the 19th century.
The Muri-Gries Benedictine monastery was founded in 1845 by monks from the Muri monastery that had been previously dismantled. The monastery was built on a rock, erected by the counts of Tyrol, and from the early 15th century until its abolition in 1807 was an abbey of the Augustinian Canons. The collegiate church was built by Antonio Giuseppe Sartori in 1769-1771. The frescoes of the Church were created between 1771 and 1773 by Martin Knoller and reflect the life of their Patron, Saint Augustine. The Abbey possesses a large collection of tapestries that date to around 1500.
The Chasuble of Uta von Ronsberg-Tarasp with its corresponding stole, which can be found in the Marienberg Benedictine Abbey, dates back to the mid-12th century. The rich embroidery is very fine from an artistic, handcrafted and representative viewpoint, and it is one of the first examples of textile configuration. Comparable pieces in the Romanesque period are extremely rare and therefore these are a rarity in the international context. For the first time, after a recent restoration, a 12th century handpiece will be displayed showing the passion of Christ.
The Chasuble of Uta von Ronsberg-Tarasp from the 12th century.
The Dolomythos Museum in Innichen/San Candido hosts exhibitions detailing textile oddities from the legends of the Dolomites and fabrics from archaeological finds dating to the 15th and 16th centuries that were found in mines at high altitudes in the Dolomites. In recent years, Michael Wachtler and Georg Kandutsch have explored the glaciers of the Alps and have made unprecedented discoveries about textiles that have given us great insight into how mountain people used to work, and especially what working in the mines was like.
UNESCO Dolomites. Fragment of fabric, discovered at high altitude, early 16th century.
The Museum of People through Time in the “Ansitz am Orth” dating to the 14th century in Kurtastch/Cortaccia displays details of the pre-industrial treatment of silk cocoons to make silk thread and its subsequent processing. Already at the end of the 17th century, silk production was regarded by the governments of the time in much of the region as a manufacturing industry, and in fact, silk was first produced in the southern part of the region, particularly in the area of Rovereto. Of particular interest is the equipment for the treatment and processing of silk in the Tyrol region.
Original Jacquard loom from Ala, today in the Museum of People through Time.
Thematic and cultural-historical sights along the exhibition route
It will soon be a thousand years since Volkhold, the heir to Sonnenburg/Castel Badia “Suanapurc”, ceased to show interest in worldly luxuries and transformed the castle into a Benedictine monastery (1039). The institution, which not only had been granted land, but also political rights as the judicial court of the Sonnenburg Court, soon became a reputable monastery for noble women. The ruins of the apses, which rise archaic and slender from the rocks, bear witness to power and wealth and faith and dedication. But also to decline and decay. The hill reflects nearly four millennia of human history: the protohistoric settlement, Roman camp, a castle from the late Middle Ages, a female monastery for 750 years, a stone quarry, an old ruin, an asylum for the poor …
Sonnenburg: more than 1000 years of history of civilization
The Municipal Museum in Klausen/Chiusa is located in a former Capuchin monastery and retains the famous and incomparable Treasury of Loreto: precious altar frontals, vestments and sacred objects from the Italian and Spanish Schools of the 16th and 17th centuries. The convent and treasury date back to a Foundation of the Spanish Empress Maria Anna (1667-1740). Of great importance is the permanent exhibition featuring paintings by the artists of the Art Colony of Klausen/Chiusa (1874 – 1914) and by Alexander Koester.
Altarpiece Treasury of Loreto donated by the Empress Maria Anna of Spain, late 17th century.
Above Schluderns/Sluderno in Vinschgau/Val Venosta, between the Reschen/Resia Pass and Meran/Merano lies Churburg/Castel Coira, one of the best preserved castles in South Tyrol. The building was built in 1259 and from 1504, it has been in the private ownership of the Counts of Trapp. Today, visitors to the castle will see a Renaissance residence, with a splendid loggia. The Romanesque chapel, the hall of Ancestors, the room of James and other extravagant rooms are particularly precious treasures. The Armoury is internationally famous as it is considered to be one of the most important collections of its kind and it displays the armour of the Lords of the Castle tailored by the most famous craftsmen of the period. In the Hall of Armour hangs the oldest flag of the Schützen (Sharpshooters) with the Red Eagle, dating back to 1607. A tablecloth that dates back to around 1550 represents an outstanding example of Renaissance embroidery art.
Churburg/Castel Coira, one of the best preserved castles in South Tyrol.
Near Meran/ Merano, at the entrance to the Passeier Valley in the village of the same name lies Castle Schenna/Scena, which boasts a splendid view over the Burggrafenamt/Burgraviato. Margarethe of Tyrol, known as “die Maultasch” granted permission to build a castle in 1350. Renowned Tyrolean noble families followed as owners. In the mid-19th century, Archduke Johann of Austria breathed new life into the castle and today, although owned privately, it is open to the public. The furnishings are original and many exhibits recall the past life of the castle. You can visit the unique collections of Archduke Johann: paintings, portraits, tableware, home textiles and weapons originating from eight centuries of history. What is very interesting from a historical and cultural point of view is, amongst other things, a coffin blanket embroidered by Anna Plochl for her husband Archduke Johann, and a silk banner and an emblem embroidered by Empress Sissi.
Castle Schenna. Portrait of Anna Plochl, who embroidered the blanket for her husband the Archduke Johann’s coffin.
The Castello del Buonconsiglio is a collection of several buildings and from the second half of the 13th century to 1796 it was the residence of the Prince-Bishops of Trento. The Prince-Bishop Georg I of Liechtenstein transformed the castle into a religious residence around 1400. He built a bridge between the castle and the Eagle Tower, whose interior is decorated with a fresco of the famous Cycle of the Months, a masterpiece of the International Gothic movement in Europe. Bernardo Cles, bishop from 1514 to 1539, built a majestic residence, the Palazzo Magno next to the old centre, inspired by the Renaissance canons, and constructed a new wall around the city. Today the Buonconsiglio Castle houses the Provincial Museum of Trento that displays works of art from the region.
Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento
The Diocesan Museum of Trento in Trento was one of the first Diocesan museums in Italy. It was founded in 1903 with the aim of preserving the heritage of the diocese. For the 400th anniversary of the Council of Trent, the Museum received its permanent location in the Praetorian Palace, the former residence of the Prince Bishops, near the Cathedral of Saint Vigilius, patron of the city of Trento. In 1995, after its restoration and in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the Museum was reopened to the public. The exhibits on display span a period that goes from the 13th century to the 19th century and they showcase the rich local artistic production with their explicit references to the neighbouring Venetian, Lombard and Austrian cultures. The exhibition presents a selection of the most important collections of the Museum, located in special sections based on criteria ranging from chronology and the cultural environment to the artist. Of particular interest are the Flemish tapestries by Pieter van Aelst and the front pieces of an embroidered dalmatic representing the life of Saint Vigilius.
Tapestry from the passion series, Pieter van Aelst around 1530, © Museo Diocesano Tridentino
In collaboration with
Rennweg 1 – Innsbruck
Tel.: +43 (0)512 – 587 18619
Jeden Tag: 9 – 17 Uhr
HOFBURG – Diözesanmuseum
Hofburgplatz 2 – Brixen
Tel.: +39 0472 830505
Di – So: 10 – 17 Uhr
P.-P.-Rainerstr. 11 – Innichen
Tel. +39 0474 913462
Jeden Tag, ausser Sonntags
(nur bis Ende Mai)
8 – 19 Uhr
Schlossweg 14 – Schenna bei Meran
Tel.: +39 0473 945630
Besichtigung nur mit Führung
Di – Fr: 10.30; 11:30; 14; 15
Abendführungen: Montags 21 Uhr
Churburg 1 – Schluderns
Tel.: +39 0473 615241
Besichtigung nur mit Führung
Di – So: 10 – 12; 14 – 16.30 Uhr
Schlinig 1 – Burgeis, Mals
Tel. +39 0473 843980
Mo – Sa: 10 – 17 Uhr
Grieser Platz 21 – Bozen
Tel: +39 0471 281116
Kapuzinerkloster, Frag 1 – Klausen
Tel.: +39 0472 846148
Di – Sa: 9.30 – 12; 15.30 – 18 Uhr
MUSEUM ZEITREISE MENSCH
Ansitz am Orth, Botengasse 2 – Kurtatsch
Tel. +39 0471 880267; +39 338 2032429
Besichtigung nur mit Führung nach Anmeldung, jeden Tag möglich
8 – 20 Uhr
Laubengasse 39 – Silbergasse 6, Bozen
Tel. +39 0471 945 702
Diözesanmuseum, Piazza Duomo 18 – Trient
tel. +39 0461-234419
Mo – So: 10 – 12.30; 14 – 17.30 Uhr
CASTELLO del BUONCONSIGLIO
v. Bernardo Clesio, 5 – Trient
Tel +39 0461 233770
Di – So: 10 – 18 Uhr
von 17.07 bis 31.08 auch Montags geöffnet