Matteo Pagano (1515–1588)
Ornamento delle Belle & Virtuose Donne
Venice: Matteo Pagano, 1554
7 1/2 x 5 7/8 in. (19 x 15 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Rogers Fund, 1921 (21.15.2bis[1–48])
The exquisite needlework on the collars and cuffs of the unidentified young men in the Gentleman in Adoration before the Madonna and Child and the Gentleman in Contemplation of the Baptism of Christ is painted by Moroni with exceptional precision. Pattern books like these by the Venetian Matteo Pagano — a mapmaker, printer, medalist, and book and print dealer — promoted embroidery (as shown here) and openwork as upstanding activities for women, as indicated by their titles (“Ornament of Beautiful and Virtuous Women” and “New Garden of Needlepoint and Knotwork for the Exercise and Ornament of Women,” respectively).