The presentation of the exclusive raiment donated to the museum by Lisa Sotilis
The presentation of the exclusive raiment donated to the museum by Greek artist, sculptor and jeweler Lisa Sotilis was carried out at 3.00 p.m. at the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus on October 22, 2020. She comes from the ancient aristocratic family with Corsican and Sicilian heritage. The family settled in Greece in the 19th century. They brought the art collection. Unfortunately, the origin story of the raiment has not been kept. It is understood that it was owned by several generations of the aristocratic family.
The raiment is a vestment of a Catholic priest. It has been known since the establishment of Christianity. It is a sleeveless robe made of ornamented fabric and a lace border that is alba. It is worn over a long shirt with sleeves.
The collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus includes about 200 artistic weaving pieces, representing liturgical clothes of Catholic and Orthodox priests. There are 126 raiment patterns locally made of imported fabrics in the collection. At the time, the museum collection works were made of Eastern and Western fabrics of the 16th–19th centuries, as well as local manufactures. The products of European factories, especially French and Oriental fabrics, have been fairly well researched in professional literature. As for Italian patterns, they are single exemplars and mainly in fragments.
The raiment, donated to the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus by Lisa Sotilis, is a unique acquisition. It is made of silk using raised embroidery with matted plant shoots. There are images of flying birds, hares or rabbits symbolising Easter in Catholicism, as well as fish as a symbol of Jesus Christ on the raiment. Before, its creation time is the second half of the 16th – the early 17th centuries. But, we hope further research will clarify the date and place of production of this arts and crafts piece. The raiment will take its place in the permanent museum exhibition after its restoration.
The National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus expresses its gratitude to Lisa Sotilis for the valuable gift and hopes for further cooperation in the field of exhibition activities and strengthening cultural ties between our countries.
Lisa Sotilis is an artist, a sculptor and a jeweler. She was born in Athens in 1933. She graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, Italy. The first solo exhibition of Lisa Sotilis took place at the Milan Gallery of Modern Art by Claudia Gian Ferrarin (1961). Later, her works were exhibited in the leading art galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Madrid, Geneva, Athens and Rome. At the time, Lisa Sotilis worked with Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978), the famous Italian master and forbear of surrealists. As a jeweler, she collaborated with the Cartier French Jewelry House. She also made jewelry for Queen Marie-José of Belgium, Empress Dowager of Iran Farah Pahlavi, dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Roland Petit, actress Claudia Cardinale and many others.