Fashion and Virtue at Metropolitan Museum of Art

From October 20, 2015 to January 10, 2016 Exhibition – Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520–1620

Printed sources related to the design of textile patterns first appeared during the Renaissance when six intricate, interlaced “knotwork” designs, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and later copied by Albrecht Dürer, marked the beginning of a fruitful international exchange of pattern designs. Starting in the 1520s, small booklets with textile patterns were published regularly, and these pocket-size, easy-to-use publications became an instant success, essentially forming the first fashion publications. These books were not made for the library but for the active use of their 16th-century owners across all levels of society, who were interested and invested in textile decoration as a means of self-expression and transformation of their households and dress. Users of the books tore out the pages and pasted or nailed them to workroom walls for inspiration. Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520–1620, an exhibition drawn largely from the Metropolitan Museum’s own collections, will combine printed pattern books, drawings, textile samples, costumes, paintings, and various other works of art to evoke the colorful world in which the Renaissance textile pattern books first emerged and functioned.

The exhibition is made possible by the Placido Arango Fund and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Exhibition Location: Robert Lehman Wing, Galleries 964–965, Lower Level