Join Date: July 2005
Beauty in the Renaissance (article)
Here is a nice article I came across, although it would have been better if it had come with illustrations. It is called "Beauty in the Renaissance," which effectivelz sums up its topic:
It makes the point that we all know very well about the preferred feminine figure type:
[The ideal] Renaissance woman was much more curvaceous than the women of today. In fact, a voluptuous figure was considered beautiful and sexy while thin women were looked on as oddities. It is strange to think that women who were once idealized for their curves are now considered pariahs in a modern culture that is obsessed with size 0.
And it also gives a nice account of the fashions of the era. Some highlights:
However, everything about the Renaissance was a little extreme from hair, fashion, and jewelry. It was an opulent time for those born of noble birth...Beginning in the 1400ís and extending even into the early 1500ís, the Renaissance captured the attention and imagination of all who lived in Europe. It celebrated the arts in every form - - including the human body - - and focused heavily on everything tied to ancient Greece and Rome...
Fashion during the Renaissance was varied. Nobility donned clothing made of fine silks and satins, elaborately decorated with ruffles, lace, and jewels...
The Renaissance featured a lot of opulence in fashion. Women of noble blood often wore several layers of clothing, beginning with the chemise and working outward. Each layer was more elaborate than the one before. Garments were made from silks, satins, velvets, stunning brocades and beautifully woven or embroidered fabrics.
...In any case they were highly adorned with embroidery, lace, ribbon and ruffles.
Color was key in Renaissance dress. Every color had its own meaning. Black for mouning; blue for fidelity; gray for sorrow; green for love; red for nobility; and yellow for hostility. Oftentimes different colors were mixed and match to tailor the clothing to its individual wearer.
...Gold was the essential metal. It often mimicked or copied the designs of ancient Etruscan, Greek, and Roman.
...Rings also carried meanings. The fidelity ring spoke of friendship; the Irish Claddagh of marital status; the faith ring identified those practicing Catholicism; signet rings that served as identification of a family or house; and poison rings equipped to quickly rid oneself of an enemy.
I particularly like the reference to the use of "embroidery, lace, ribbon and ruffles" -- all of which could be incorporated into modern fashion. The point about the meanings of different colours is interesting too.