women of the italian renaissance

Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625)
“Self-portrait at the easel” (1556)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Łańcut Castle, Łańcut, Poland

Anguissola was an Renaissance painter born in Cremona to a relatively poor noble family. She received a well-rounded education, that included the fine arts, and her apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art. As a young woman, Anguissola traveled to Rome where she was introduced to Michelangelo, who immediately recognized her talent. The Spanish queen Elizabeth of Valois was a keen amateur painter, and in 1559 Anguissola was recruited to go to Madrid as her tutor, with the rank of lady-in-waiting. She later became an official court painter to the king, Philip II. After the queen’s death, Philip helped arrange an aristocratic marriage for her. She moved to Sicily, and later Pisa and Genoa, where she continued to practice as a leading portrait painter, living to the age of ninety-three.

I am so blessed to have such incredible women in my life.
@larplyyyyyyf and @astro-kerrie in particular are shaping the LARP scene in Australia and they both motivate and inspire me.
And come on.. we would tear shit up together.

Photo by the amazing Tony Delov.

i read a lot about art as well as women’s places in sub-movements and what not so i wanted to compile a little list of notable books i’ve read about the intersection of those things, in case it interests you at all cause it does me. some of these take on an explicitly feminist perspective while others are more objective and “historical”/ devoid of political introspection- both narratives interest me. (if this seems at all crude or without nuance it’s because i’m just a book store clerk and not an academic, lol) :

i’m surely forgetting some- but i hope this was at least a little of interest! 

Sofonisba Anguissola [Italian. c.1530/35-1625]
The Chess Game 1555

Sofonisba Anguissola’s most distinctive and attractive paintings are her portraits of herself and her family. In particular her depictions of children were fresh and closely observed.

This is probably Sofonisba’s most famous painting. Her younger sisters are portrayed while playing chess in the home garden, the maid Giovanna appears discreet at the right border of the painting. It is the genuine image of a daily scene, revealed through the game of gazes. The older sister, Lucia, has eaten the queen to her opponent, the younger Minerva, and she looks proudly at Sofonisba, the eldest sister who is portraying the scene. Minerva, in her turn, gazes astonished at Lucia and the youngest, Europa, looks amused at her. On all, the watchful eye of the maid Giovanna from the edge of the scene. The mountain landscape, the same which appears in the family portrait, is imaginary because Cremona is far from any hill or mountain.

grandenchanterfiona  asked:

What period are Ascension!Fiona dresses? Like, tudor, right?

I don’t really remember the descriptions of the gowns off hand, but going through the pinterest I’m seeing a lot of MAgnificent Century (16th century, but taken with a pinch of salt, as we don’t have many paintings of the women of the Ottoman court during Suleiman’s reign), tudor (1480s - 1600s) and Italian Renaissance(14th century - 17th century)

Pulling up the descriptions….chapter 17:

“Is there enough there for a dress?”

The woman shook her head. “But maybe a skirt if one was generous with fur? I know one could make a surcoat out of it, but it’s such nice drape it’d be a waste.”


They finally made one. Fiona would pay eighty-five silver for a dress made of black wool. She’d pay another fifteen silver for a surcoat made from dark green and black figured satin remnants.

This makes me think late medieval, maybe 14th century. During the tudor era gowns were structured over hoops, and gown and surcoat alike were more conservative. During the late medieval period, however, you see surcoats which make use of much less fabric much more often:

(late 14th century)

(Isabela of BRitanny, 15th century)

chapter 19:

“Is it supposed to…” Fiona searched for the word to describe the fit of the bodice, “Hug so tightly?” 

Both LM and Tudor had bodices that hugged tightly, but they hugged tightly differently - LM kirtles and undergowns were laced in place to support the bosom, while Tudor ones tended to flatten it.

“You’re not used to this sort of fashion, are you?” Leah asked. She carefully pressed the piece of vair flush with the fabric of the dress, and pinned it in place along the hem, then repeated this again, a little farther down the width of the skirt.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen vair in Tudor period, but I could be wrong.

“It is…sort of. The fur, the leather bodice, they are. Ferelden dresses, the cut of them…does not go well on a more Elven figure. It’s low necks, high waists, and wide hips, and… Well, it’s attractive on humans. But you’d look exceptionally short, and your bosom will be found lacking by the men of the court…and some of the women.”

The silhouette Leah is describing on other Ferelden ladies sounds like Italian Renaissance to me, specifically 16th century. In the LM period, torso and skirt were cut together, rather separately when cutting the fabric, so this is Renaissance at the earliest.



chapter 20:

The skirt was not overly full, the way the dress would be for a human. At the very most, the three or four silk underskirts beneath the dress added perhaps an inch to the hips. And the skirt belled out, but only by slim margins, not the nearly sixty inches or more some dresses did.

Like I said, Tudor gowns were structured with hoops, and Medieval ones were not - this definitely sounds like either a lower class Tudor gown or a Medieval one. However, Italian gowns didn’t bell out, and I don’th THINK they had hoops.

The entire bodice of the dress hugged Fiona’s figure tightly, fitting snugly, like a second skin, except for the sleeves, where it puffed out slightly. The neck was high, reaching perhaps to Fiona’s collarbone, resting on the low part of her neck. Sewn to it was a wide vair collar, likely detachable, shape like a half circle. The inside was lined with dark green silk, edged with black leather, to keep the fur from itching Fiona’s neck, should the collar come out of place.

Once again, I’m thinking Medieval - Tudor gowns were very lowcut. Do you mean that the collar is standing up here, so we can see the inside?

The surcoat was a marvel too. The black and dark green figured silk had become a surcoat befitting a queen. It was a simple jacket, in terms of shape, minus the sleeves. But it had been sewn so skillfully that it became more than that. It, too, hugged Fiona’s figure, following her shape.

And it, too, had a large high collar that flared out as well, green silk, the same that lined the inside of Fiona’s other collar, pleated in such a way that it resembled the frills on the necks of some lizards. It had been starched until it stood up on it’s own.

The edges of the coat, too, were edged with green silk, pleated just as the starched silk had been, and sewn along the edges of the ‘keyhole’ of the front of the coat on both sides, around to the skirt of the coat as well. The arm holes, on the other hand, were instead lined with the same silk, cut into strips, braided, and sewn along the edges.

The overall vibe I’m getting from this dress is of a late medieval gown and surcoat with an Elizabethan standing collar, like this:

Renaissance Woman Reading (early 20th century). Edgar Maxence (French, 1871-1954). Oil on panel.

Maxence’s best-known paintings,are decorative, vaguely religious or allegorical images of beautiful women in medieval dress, influenced by early Italian Renaissance and late English Pre-Raphaelite art. He also painted fashionable portraits and Impressionist landscapes.

Isabella D’Este (1474-1539) was one of the leading women of the Italian Renaissance, a distinguished and important figure in politics and culture at the time. She was a Marchesa of Mantua, and was known in high circles as the “liberal and magnanimous Isabella” or even “The First Lady of the world”.

She received a rigorous education in many different fields, and became an influential figure on the political scene; her efforts were essential for promoting the city of Mantua into a Duchy. She was also a patron of the arts, and has been suggested as one of the possible models for the Mona Lisa.

Just watch how much the “ideal” body type has changed over 3,000 years

It’s not easy living in a world where beauty is defined in narrow terms and our bodies are scrutinized if they don’t fit into some culturally-prescribed mold. But you know what helps? Remembering that every body is beautiful, and if that doesn’t do it, then remembering that “ideal” body types are totally arbitrary and fleeting in nature. BuzzFeed just made our day with their video detailing 3,000 years of women’s “ideal bodies” as described by their own societies. Guys, this is some fascinating stuff. Apparently in Ancient Greece, a woman was simply thought of as a “disfigured man.” The Han Dynasty thought that slim-waisted, big-eyed ladies were ideal. And if you travel forward to the Italian Renaissance, women were considered perfect if they had ample bosoms and full hips. Then there’s the willowy, slender gals from the 60s. What does this tell us? There’s no such thing as the “perfect” body—unless we’re willing to believe whatever society tells us (and …

anonymous asked:

Renaissance hair for female nobility was is just a thing of mystery to me. it is so complicated and it looks like it takes hours even with a maid. I mean jeez, just imagine how much it would suck to maintain that.

Funnily enough, many Renaissance hairstyles are deceptively simple and rely on cramming your hair into bejeweled accessories



Still having a shit hair day? That’s ok. Cram it under a hairnet

To be fair, these are basically for every day, but most people think of this over-elaborate stuff when someone says “Renaissance hairstyle”

But you’ll find that these are, for the most part, a modern invention. Many people also don’t take into account the fact that Renaissance women, those wacky Italians in particular, absolutely used fake hair from horses or other women, or, hell- “rats” comprised of tangled old hair from your hairbrush. A middle-class woman would have a lady to help her do her hair, and a noblewoman a minimum of two ladies’ maids. I myself am a pretty fast/even braider and have tested some of these out– most take no more than a half hour in the morning if you’re fast. And hairstyles like these would definitely not be for everyday use– just for balls or dinner parties, kind of like how modern chignons can take a long time for proms. 

(The Romans, on the other hand… Janet Stephens has done fantastic work recreating some of them and hahahaha jesus christ)

Portrait of a Young Girl (c.1900). Edgar Maxence (French, 1871-1954).

Maxence helped to popularize Symbolism by applying a highly finished academic technique to Symbolist subjects. His paintings are decorative, vaguely religious or allegorical images of beautiful women in medieval dress, influenced by early Italian Renaissance and late English Pre-Raphaelite art.

Portrait of the Artist with a Book (1554)

Sophonisba Anguissola, 1532-1625 

One of the few women artist’s, and one of the even fewer group of women to have painted self-portraits. Portrait signature in the book reads, “Sophonisba Anguissolla virgin made this herself 1554”.   

anonymous asked:

You said before that you dislike photos as they make you "start wanting to be more conventionally pretty". Its interesting that you said "more", would you say you are already pretty? Also, you said that everyone is beautiful, an idea I personally don't share, did you mean that everyone is equally physically attractive, or that everyone is in possession of at least one attractive quality? I'm also interested in your general thoughts on beauty. Sorry for long Q!! XOXO

This is a complicated topic, and I’m probably not going to explain it in a way that makes sense, but I’ll try. When I say that everyone is beautiful, it’s because the whole idea of beauty is a fallacy. It differs between cultures and historical periods, and it will continue to change as time goes on. There’s a brilliant BuzzFeed video that shows how the ideal for the female physique has changed over the ages: [x] You can see that in the Italian Renaissance, for example, women were considered beautiful if they were full-figured, while today, they would be viewed as overweight or “plus size”. Our current notion of beauty is just a phase, a trend. It’s not real. 

I don’t buy the idea that there’s one way we should all look, often a way that we couldn’t possibly achieve without products or surgery. I think we all know in our hearts that what the media tells us is beautiful is designed to sell us things, although it takes us years to learn it. If we felt good about our natural appearances, we wouldn’t feel the need to go out and spend money on a particular shampoo or skin cream or go under the knife. The idea of beauty must exist for a lucrative industry to thrive around it. That’s the nature of capitalism. Products = happiness. 

Do I think I’m pretty? Only if I look at my body as a collection of parts, and isolate the pretty ones. Parts of me are pretty by today’s standards. My hair’s in reasonably good condition, after many years of undoing the damage I did to it in my teens, but I tend to have a lot of split ends and I have to keep treating it with hair masques to keep it from drying out. I have a relatively clear complexion, but I have to use products to keep it that way. I have a small waist, but I don’t have large breasts to balance my wide hips, so I’m more pear-shaped than hourglass. I have big feet. I’m tall. I have an overbite and acid wear on my teeth, and they’re not white because I drink a tonne of tea and coffee and I’m currently too scared to have them whitened in case it hurts. I have a thin upper lip, which means my overbite is more prominent and I show gum when I smile. 

Am I pretty? The Ancient Greeks would appreciate my hips. A Victorian woman would like my waist. I’m a Size 12 in trousers, though, which some parts of the world no doubt consider plus-size. I don’t think any period of history has prized Size 9 feet in women.  

Am I pretty? Why am I qualified to make that decision? 

Will I be pretty today, but ugly in 100 years’ time? 

Am I pretty? 

Yes, because nobody has the authority to tell me I’m not. And I refuse to think of myself as a collection of pretty and ugly parts.