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. My latest book, on the Italian Renaissance Nude, is out next spring (2018, Yale) and I'm also involved in the forthcoming exhibition (2018-19) on the Renaissance Nude at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Royal Academy in London. 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.

Blade Runner 2049 and the Renaissance Nude

 I am, perhaps, the only person to see Blade Runner 2049 who was constantly reminded of book 3 of Baldassare Castiglione’s Courtier. It wasn’t the replicants that did it, but the artificially intelligent hologram super-girl, Joi (Ana de Armas), who the … Continue reading

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How to Get Breasts like Apples: Beauty Tips for the Early Modern Woman

On 27 February 1639 King Philip IV of Spain received a letter from his brother Ferdinand about Rubens’ Judgement of Paris (above). The story of the Judgment of Paris was often represented in early modern texts and images. It’s the one where … Continue reading

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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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