The world in a fan

Tiziano Vecellio, born in Pieve di Cadore (1488-1576) and a renowned figure in the Venetian Renaissance pictorial scene, gave life to a precious chromatic luminosity with his mysterious paint mixtures, inspired by the memory of his beloved Cadore mountains, covered in blissful, white snow and embellished by the thousand colourful reflections of a timeless city overlooking the water.

Perfectly capturing its light and shaping each figure with warm, embracing brush strokes, he highlighted their exquisite dresses and the rich, shiny draperies that drew attention to velvet, silk or damask, with their marvellous shimmering tonalisms, such as silvery-white, brightened up by the golden lace borders of that dress his daughter Lavinia wore on her wedding day. The young bride with blonde, braided hair, portrayed with pure white pearls as a symbol of purity, elegantly holds up a golden lace “flag” fan, fixed to a wooden shaft with unique carvings.

Hand-held fans... an emblem of royalty, luxury and sacredness that came back into the light for the more cheerful and international atmosphere of the Belle Epoque.
Hand-held fans... members of rare Collections, like the one that winds its way through the gallery of Hotel Metropole, leading us on a sophisticated and intriguing journey into the past with its black and white colours, sparkling satin and feathers, painted lace and silk, tulle, sequins and mother of pearl.

An impeccable selection of precious hand-held fans of breath-taking beauty, hosted within the building that treasures the memory and passion of the great musician Antonio Vivaldi, of his most remarkable concerts, and of the singing and violins of the Putte of the Ospizio della Pietà. And today, Hotel Metropole appears before the city and its guests in a new, improved guise. Notes and arpeggios still echo through the mirrors, red velvets and dim lights, lifting our spirits and bringing comfort; there’s only room for the newly rediscovered beauty and harmonious dance steps that reignite life after a long, sad time of silence, solitude and pandemic stillness.


Hand-held fans were amongst the Oriental gems that reached Venice from the faraway Silk Road. At first in the shape of mostly round flags fixed to a shaft handle and, at a later time, composed of foldable sticks, upon which the so-called leaves were placed, turning this item into a delicate, precious and versatile emblem of luxury and sacredness, that became an essential accessory for women’s fashion throughout the following centuries.
A 200 AD verse, composed during the Han Dynasty reads, ‘…a piece of silk, white as snow, was cut to make a fan, round like the moon…’

Guest Blogger: Daniela Simionato-Putz
published on 27/05/2021

Daniela Simionato-Putz

The happiness she felt while living in Venice encouraged Daniela Simionato-Putz to explore each and every corner of her city and her lagoon, studying and giving life to interesting, innovative paths of history and art that she shared to the world through her successful books. Moreover, after years teaching History of Art, she started working with several cultural associations in the city such as FAI and Amici dei Musei e Monumenti Veneziani (Friends of Venetian Museums and Monuments).

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