Art History Lecture: Velvet Goldmine: Silk, Gold, and Renaissance Masculinity
The lords of Renaissance Italy wore silk brocades studded with gems and precious metals to dazzle the eye and convince subjects of their nobility and right to rule. Men were peacocks colourfully adorned to attract attention in the courts of fifteenth-century Italy. This was a literal ‘golden age’, saturated with brilliant bodies and scintillating surfaces radiating power, wealth and nobility. Yet these responsibilities weighed heavily on lords. Rulers could often barely afford to satisfy their categorical imperative to embody radiance, even if—or specifically because—their power rested upon it. Building from a larger study of courtly, material extravagance and the symbolic economy of male court fashions, this lecture evaluates the manufacture and display of lordly material culture in Renaissance Italy.
Timothy McCall is Associate Professor of Art History and director of the Art History Program, at Villanova University. Tim’s research centers on Italian Renaissance art, and on visual intersections of power and gender (particularly masculinity) more broadly, in addition to histories of fashion and material culture. Tim’s journal articles have appeared in Renaissance Quarterly, Renaissance Studies, Studies in Iconography, and I Tatti Studies, and together with Sean Roberts and Giancarlo Fiorenza, he co-edited Visual Cultures of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe (2013). McCall’s forthcoming book Brilliant Bodies investigates the clothing, adornment, and bodies of men in fifteenth-century Italian courts; other book manuscripts in progress include Making the Renaissance Man and Matters of Renaissance Fashion. He is currently in Sydney on a Gilbert Fellowship at SSSHARC, collaborating with Dr John Gagné (History) on several projects focusing on war and fashion in sixteenth century Italy.
Lecture Theatre 209,
RC Mills Building, Fisher Rd,
University of Sydney
Dr Louise Marshall