Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia Comune di Ariccia
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Leather wall coverings
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Leather wall coverings
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Leather wall coverings
Chigi Palace, Ariccia
Leather wall coverings
One of the peculiarities of the palace are the extremely rare stenciled leather wall coverings of the 17th century - said to originate from Cordova, Spain. They still cover the walls of many rooms, making the Chigi home a unique place. Numerous fragments adorn various walls of the palace, adding a kind of museum of leather to the collections of the palace, given the miraculous conservation also of matrices in wood for the stencil press, some of which were designed by Bernini.
The fashion of decorated leather was introduced by the Arabs in Spain in the 16th century and through the Spanish diffused all over Europe, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries. These coverings were made tanned sheepskins painted with silver leaf and decorated with stamps, painted with varnishes and finally perforated for articulating the design.
Once decorated they were sewn together and used like tapestry or wallpaper and also to create or decorate altars, blankets, pillows,and other objects. In Italy already from beginning of the 1500s there was local production, which spread widely in the 1600s and then faded away in the course of the 18th century, replaced by fabrics and then paper.