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This artwork by Vittorio Carpaccio features several staple elements of High Italian Renaissance. Most salient is the velo, or veil. A very popular piece of clothing in the mid 16th century, this cloth garment is worn over the head with special emphasis in covering the ears. According to religious lore, the Virgin Mary received the soul of Jesus onto her womb after hearing the word of the Archangel Gabriel speak to her ear. The manner in which the woman's hands are put together are indicative of the veneration movement of the Virgin Mary. women and brides to be were to wear velos as a rule, but after the 16th century moved along it became a staple of clothing for any interested woman.
This velo covers the upper part of the sottana, which basically means "robe" or tunic. The derivative characteristic of the sottana is the side sleeves, which constitute the only salient decor as far as the cut of the garment goes. This sottana in particular could be worn over the everyday dress of Renaissance Europe, known as a gamurra.
Additionally, and under a historical perspective, the use of colors is significant. It was very expensive to "keep whites white", and so the more white garments you owned, the more servants you were thought to have (to take care of those garments). Therefore it is a symbol of status. However, red and white were higher ranking colors on their own, and the fact that these two pigments are so evident in the wardrobe of the characters in the painting is of much importance.
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