Author Archives: jillburke

About jillburke

I'm a senior lecturer in Renaissance Art History at the University of Edinburgh, and the Associate Editor of the journal Renaissance Studies. I have a research blog for putting out ideas and research more quickly than traditional publishing allows, and also to include thoughts, material and info that won't fit in an article or book. I also am involved in the Being Human in Early Modern Europe, and Making Up the Renaissance projects.

More body hair removal tips for the Renaissance woman

I couldn’t resist sharing these thoughts on body hair removal from a  Venetian 1562 advice book for women that I stumbled across yesterday (apparently written by a “Greek Queen”, but really by the male physician, Giovanni Marinello). You would have … Continue reading

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Call for Papers, RSA 2014: Skin, Fur and Hairs: Animality and Tactility in Renaissance Europe

For Renaissance Europeans, animal fur was a desirable but complex material.  It was a high status commodity, lining (or appearing to line) fine garments.  Yet it was also an animal skin, as worn by Adam and Eve after the Fall.  … Continue reading

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How to see people naked in Renaissance Italy

How to see naked men Seeing naked or near-naked men in the Renaissance does not seem to have been very difficult. I should point out that looking at naked people is not, necessarily, erotic. Indeed, the word for naked, nudo, … Continue reading

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Did renaissance women remove their body hair?

Notoriously, on the wedding night of the celebrated art critic, John Ruskin and Effie Gray in 1848, Ruskin was so repelled by the sight of his bride’s body that he was unable to consummate the marriage. Effie Gray explained in … Continue reading

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“Is she pregnant, or just out of shape?” Misogyny and description in art history

Rosso, female nude

Rosso, Female Nude, Uffizi

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The bureaucrat, the Mona Lisa, and leaving things rough

In early 2007, a rash of stories appeared in the international media about the discovery of the “true” identity of the Mona Lisa. The excitement was linked to the publication of a marginal note in an early printed edition of … Continue reading

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Vasari and Artistic Value

A couple of weeks ago, I took part in an event called “The irreverent interpretation: Before and After Vasari’s Lives of the Artists”, organised by the fantastic Transmission Gallery committee for the Glasgow Art Festival.  I talked alongside Fiona Jardine … Continue reading

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The Pitfalls of Genius: Leonardo and his frustrated patrons

I’m in the midst of giving several talks and papers – two in the last week, in Birmingham and Glasgow respectively, and one next week in Washington D.C. at the Renaissance Society of America conference. I thought I’d post my … Continue reading

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The Da Vinci Debate

Often, people who don’t have an in-depth knowledge of renaissance art use the short hand “Da Vinci” instead of “Leonardo”. Sometimes you will come across some cognoscenti admitting to “squirming” when they come across people referring to Da Vinci instead … Continue reading

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Another priapic Vitruvian man!

This is just a quick addition to my previous post. One response to Cesariano’s man was a 1536 Italian edition of Vitruvius by Giovanni Battista Caporali. As far as I understand it, the passage about human proportion here was based … Continue reading

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