Italy. Fashion of the Venetian nobility in the 16th c.

Venice, renaissance, fashion, nobel, venetian, nobility, costumes, italy
Painting by Paolo Veronese. Venetian nobility costumes, 16th century.


The motif of the miniatures depicted on our panel after the fragment of a painting by Paolo Veronese is not entirely clear. The ladies’ costumes belong to the period 1575-1585.

The red toga, a robe with wide sleeves, and the golden stole were a privilege of the nobility and were usually worn only in the exercise of the highest state offices. The golden stole was hereditary in the houses of Contarini, Querini and Morosini. The members of the Council of Ten went to the Senate session in the usual black robes, with the exception of the three chairmen. They wore the purple robe with a scarlet stole, and at major state events the red robe with a velvet stole of the same colour.

The costumes of the ladies are similar to the ones Vecellio gives them on big festive occasions where the dress code was out of force. The collar, waist and sleeves are shiny with stones, pearls and gold, and the hair, neck and chest are covered with jewels. The linen, as far as it is visible, is richly embroidered and interwoven with coloured, metallically shimmering silk threads.

Illustration after a miniature of the library of Amb. Firmin-Didot. Cf. C. Vecellio and J. Ferrario.

Source: History of the costume in chronological development by Auguste Racinet. Edited by Adolf Rosenberg. Berlin 1888.


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Auguste Racinet. The Costume History by Françoise Tétart-Vittu.

Racinet's Costume History is an invaluable reference for students, designers, artists, illustrators, and historians; and a rich source of inspiration for anyone with an interest in clothing and style. Originally published in France between 1876 and 1888, Auguste Racinet’s Le Costume historique was in its day the most wide-ranging and incisive study of clothing ever attempted.

Covering the world history of costume, dress, and style from antiquity through to the end of the 19th century, the six volume work remains completely unique in its scope and detail. “Some books just scream out to be bought; this is one of them.” ―