I find when I make a gown from a portrait I always end up learning more about the person than I realize. This gown has been no different. Vittoria Colonna 1492-1547 was a widow, poetess and friends with many artists of the time. She was betrothed to her husband Fernando d’Avalos at the age of 4 and met him, fell deeply in love and married at the age of 16. When he died years later she never remarried despite being a young widow. She encouraged all women to write poems and opened many writing rooms for this. She is first woman poet ever to be published in Italy in 1538. She was a friend of Michelangelo who was reportedly at her bed side when she died and wrote a sonnet for her funeral.
A poem by Vittoria Colonna
“I live on this depraved and lonely cliff”
I live on this depraved and lonely cliff
like a sad bird abhorring a green tree
or splashing water. I move forcefully
away from those I love, and I am stiff
even before myself so that my thoughts
may rise and fly to him: sun I adore
and worship. Though their wings could hurry more,
they race only to him. The forest rots
until the instant when they reach that place.
Then deep in ecstasy, though quick, they feel
a joy beyond all earthly joy. I reel,
and yet if they could recreate his face
as my mind craving and consuming would,
then here perhaps I’d own the perfect good.
pictures of in process things