Motifs in Renaissance Vestments: The Cammino Motif

The Cammino motif was a design that came out of the fifteenth century and was characterized by a meandering, horizontal motif ("cammino" translates loosely as journey or path) which is comprised by shapes akin to the petals of a flower which were set into a repeating pattern that enclosed a central design made up of a popular Renaissance subject such as the pomegranate, the pine cone, or the thistle.  In terms of the petals (called "corolla") five seems to be the most common number that we see, though one also finds examples with seven or even nine corollae. 

Frequently this motif was also paired with a design technique referred to as "inferriata" (meaning grille, railing or bars) which is accomplished by "voiding" or removing the velvet pile in those sections in order make up the design. The end result is a look analogous to the linear design one often sees in decorative metalwork and the like to make up a grille or railing (hence the name of the technique). 

The following are two contemporary examples of this renaissance motif in use.


As with all such historical works, its use was widespread since there was no historical demarcation between secular and ecclesiastical textiles. Here, however, are various examples of this motif as seen in sacred vestment works.

While all of these designs have strong design similarities, it should be noted that cammino isn't solely compromised of that specific, very linear design. This, for example, would also constitute a type of cammino design:

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