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Art Pickings 2: Early Modern Femininity and Patient Looking in Clara Peeters’ Still Life with Flowers

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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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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