Jill Burke photoI’m Professor of Renaissance Visual and Material Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, and this blog is a way to get some ideas and thoughts into the public domain before committing them to print, to link to some of the activities I’m involved in, and a place to post bits and pieces of material that I come across sometimes that I can’t find a place for in articles or books, but which might be useful to other people. You are welcome to use any info – though do reference me please… You’re also very welcome to comment on my posts. There’s more information about me, and links to some of my published work at http://edinburgh.academia.edu/JillBurke



2 Responses to About

  1. Fara Otterbeck says:

    I was wondering if you had more information on your statement, “There’s a particularly memorable recipe in the 1532 book, for example, that recommends women wash the area where hair is to be removed in a mixture of cat dung and vinegar.” I research medieval uses for bodily fluids and various manures. Cat poo isn’t used very often so it is always a fun one to find references on.

  2. Bob Levine says:

    Hi Jill,

    I enjoyed your post as I’ve long puzzled over Michelangelo and the female body. However, even if I accept some of the explanations you posited- the male body being the default model, etc.- I still have problems with the breasts that Michelangelo sculpted on his female figures. Specifically, they don’t look anything like normal breasts! They look like implants gone wrong. I’ve even heard it suggested that he learned female anatomy from (partially decomposed in the mediterranean climate) corpses and so had no idea what the living breast was like. this is plainly evident in the image you chose of ‘Night’- the breasts look positively pathological.

    I am not an art historian but it seems to me this matter could be at least partially resolved if we look at other, contemporaneous, sculptors to see if they did the same thing. I’ve never noticed it anywhere else. Was it just a peculiarity of Michelangelo? If so, broad explanations are hardly necessary. If it was more widespread, then the broader the better!

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