The construction of this doublet is a gift of lessons. Although I have constructed quite a few complicated interlinings, this doublet is probably the most complex thing I have built.
Per my last entry, I flew in the direction of a conjecture developed from deep study of the painting (more on this below). Moroni was very interested in the embroidery patterns, cuts of clothing, and the fabrics. In particular, how the light and shadow defined the fabrics, their sheen, folds, and variations. This interest is a gift to the historical costumer. I was trying to define what initially looked like a fit issue in the doublet, wrinkling on the side. It seemed out of place in a suit which otherwise fit perfectly well. I made some decisions and then needed to decide how to proceed with the interlinings, particularly as this conjecture is different that the extant doublets available.
This required that I think about the function and available materials that were employed in the extant pieces. The materials were built upon each other to create a specific structured definition. The techniques deployed were layering, pad-stitching, and boning in order to manipulate the more expensive other fabrics into the appropriate shape. The shape is known. Even after hundreds of years, the extant garments hold the line we see in so many paintings.
And so I began. The base is coarse linen, layered with wool serge, an additional layer of coarse linen, open-weave wool, and wool roving as padding. The layers are pad-stitched layer upon layer and reenforced by a double row of boning (synthetic baleen in this case). I am extremely happy with the final product and will now begin the process of adding the silk outer layers and constructing the remainder of the doublet. This has been a very time-consuming process but worth it.
Deep Study: Born of a homework assignment I was given in High School to sit and study a single painting for three hours — in that case Starry Night by Van Gogh. Deep Study quickly became a practice for me when I really want to understand artwork. While it is infinitely more complex when you see a painting in person, it can work really well with high-definition photos. Especially, as in this case, when you have already done a deep study of the painting in question. Luckily, I was able to do just that at the Frick during the Moroni exhibition in 2019.
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