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Article: The curious paintings of Giovanna Garvoni

giovanna garzoni paintings

The curious paintings of Giovanna Garvoni


hen one thinks of the Renaissance, the artists Michangelo, Raphael, da Vinci, come to mind but many would struggle to name a female. 

Born towards the end of the Renaisssance in Venice, Giovanna Garzoni, was born into a family which included goldsmiths and artists. 

Her talent attracted the patronage of royal families, aristocracy and the Medici family which culminated in an incredible collection of botanica and still life paintings, still coveted today. 


"Vermilion jewellery is inspired by Giovanni's depiction of life energy present in ordinary nature"

There is a magnificence to Giovanna's still life painting, the feeling of lusciousness, a weirdness and strangeness of the tremendous abundance of life’s energies from insects to flowers to fruits & herbage. Decay and torn leaves give a sense of reality and acknowledgement of the circle of life. The details that she depicts which are normally overlooked in everyday life are magnified in glorious detail that arouses much curiosity.

What is striking is texture, created by a minute stipple effect to giving grainy lumpiness and form to fruits. It's contrasted with the incredible details in insects and blossom. The sense of balance through careful composition is also evident as another contradiction to the less than perfect subjects. 


esigning the Vermilion murano range required a new treatment of soft glass. I was coveting an effect similar to the feeling of wonder one gets when looking through stained glass windows. Shaping the molten glass into convex shapes while maintaining the warped translucence of historic glass panes was demanding and ultimately the kiln decided the viability of a few rare pieces. Strengthened by the soaking in the kiln, the glass was then set into bright silver with high carat gold and textured for light and shadow.

Ultimately the pieces that survived this arduous process express everything that they were meant to, the changing colours of the glass depending on whether it is next to flesh or material complimented by the flash of precious metals. 

Gemstones were selected for their uncommon beauty, their subtle pastel shades and shapes, enhanced by asymmetric golden borders, defying the perception that small is ordinary.

They breathe life by the way they absorb and reflect light, ever changing movement and through their colour & form, allow a subtle yet deep connection to both nature and the fine arts. As Giovanni skilfully connected nature to her painting, I hope you observe that a similar calling exists here. 

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