Bed linens



Bed linens
After the late 16th century, many European painters used bed linens for canvas. Paulo Veronese, for example, was known for painting on twilled linen “terlise”—also known as mattress ticking. The canvases of such paintings, when viewed from the back, sometimes feature the indigo associated with bedding.

When Caravaggio’s Bacchus (1596) leans on a filthy pillow made of such striped fabric, the artist may be expanding upon the dissonance between painting’s nobility as a medium (as a platform for imaging gods) and its squalor (as an object that depicts and is made of bedroom materials).

Jelena Zagora, “Striped Mattress Ticking as Painting Support”, Portal,
# 7 (2016): 251-274.

Jørgen Wadum, et. al, Vermeer Illuminated.: Conservation, Restoration and Research (The Hague: V+K Publishing/Inmerc, 1994).

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