Author Archives: jillburke

About jillburke

I'm Professor of Renaissance Visual and Material Cultures, in the School of History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. I'm currently writing a book called How to Be A Renaissance Woman, about make up, body care and hygiene in the sixteenth century. My last book, on the Italian Renaissance Nude (Yale University Press) was out in 2018, and I was also involved in the exhibition on The Renaissance Nude at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Royal Academy in London 2018-19. 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.

The Plague, the Self and the Body in Pontormo’s Naked Self Portrait: Art Pickings 4

Pontormo drew himself naked whilst escaping from the plague. For a few months in 1523-4 he was holed up in a Carthusian Monastery, the Certosa di Galluzzo, a few miles outside Florence. The first intimations of a wave of plague … Continue reading

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Art Pickings 3: The Power of Sexual Assault in Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia

These thoughts about Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia came about during a discussion at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (UK) for the wonderful Behind the Scenes at the Museum podcast. Thanks to Tiffany Jenkins, Luke Syson and Michael Savage for our conversation … Continue reading

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Clara Peeters’ Still Life with Flowers and the “Feminine” Virtue of Patience: Art Pickings 2.

How long do we spend looking at things? Really looking? Early modern women were often urged to be patient, and their skills of slow, close and acute observation can be seen in their naturalistic representation of nature in a variety … Continue reading

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Art pickings 1: Queering Raphael’s Fornarina

A homage to the wonderful Brain Pickings, Art Pickings is an irregular series of 5-minute-read visual analyses that show some ways of exploring historical understandings of gender, sexuality and the body via Renaissance art.  Half-smiling, half-naked, her fingers more suggestive … Continue reading

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Beyoncé, Titian and Me: Pleasure, Drunkenness and Power in the Italian Renaissance Nude

This is adapted from a lecture I gave at the book launch of The Italian Renaissance Nude. Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, 26 June 2018. As a middle-aged, white, art historian from Leeds, I don’t get compared to Beyoncé as … Continue reading

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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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