Early 16th century

October 16, 2009

Lecture #11: Early 16th Century: 1500 to 1550
During the 16th century most of the European cultures, England, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, etc. had entered the Renaissance, an awakening of interest, not only in literature, but academic thought, technology, painting, architecture, music, and sculpture. This reawakening entered the lives of the people. For example, Cicero and Plato were models for life rather than having their ideas just learned academically. Learning was held in high esteem and people were sincere about their beliefs, ready to die for them. It was a revival of the classics in art, music, medicine, politics, learning, etc. Italy started the Renaissance during the 15th century, but then the rest of Europe follows suit.

This is a period of great change and great turmoil, especially in religious and political ideologies. In addition, trade and global exploration flourished. See the following web site for additional information on the Renaissance. http://www.learner.org/exhibits/renaissance

Important people from this time period would be Henry VIII (King of England), Francis I (King of France), Charles (King of Spain), Sir Thomas More, Erasmus. There was quite a bit of communication and diplomacy going on between countries and ambassadors were very common.

Events: The re-discovery (as it is documented at other cultures had explored the Americas) of America in 1492 has tremendous impact and many countries are sending their own explorers – Desoto, Balboa, and Columbus. Gradually wealth in the form of trade goods and some gold was imported from the “new” world. The Spanish were the leaders of exploration and imported much gold and many new products: tobacco, corn, cochineal (a red dye), tomatoes, etc.

Technology: Surgery began as the foundation of modern medicine. Ambroise Pare was a surgeon to four kings; printing press allows for more education, the explosion of genius, learning centers and intellectual revolts (for example people are able to read the travels of Marco Polo and ideas of some of the greatest thinkers of the day); gunpowder changed the methods of war.

Trading increases, towns begin to grow, and a middle class rises. Although the diaries of Marco Polo had helped to establish Italy as an important trade route, the Italian textile trade declines due to the changing trade routes and it loses its prestigious as a dominant country in world events. Before the 14th century it was considered sinful to trade for profit, now it becomes an important occupation that will result in the rise of the merchants, burgers, and middle classes. Lorenzo Medici and others were happy to display their new wealth by sumptuous clothing, art, and housing. The Mona Lisa was started in 1503. Recently 3-D images have revealed that the sitter for the Mona Lisa, a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of the Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo, was pregnant in the portrait because she was wearing a “guarnello”, a veil worn only by pregnant women. The evolution of towns since the 11th century has almost completely taken over the feudal system.

Religious changes
Reformation – attitude change. The diverse and far-reaching effects of the Reformation along with wide-spread acceptant of the philosophy of the humanists, made men willing to expand these newly available riches upon themselves—it was not longer necessary to place the best and finest of everything upon the alter. However, this attitude somewhat changes in the 16th century. There was also the counter-reformation at the same time. See http://www.lepg.org/religion.htm if you are interested in additional information. In addition, there was a separation of church and state started by Henry VIII, but carried on throughout several generations. The Papacy is weakened by the same decadence that affected the princes along with increased education and the reform movement.

Women’s clothing
The houppelande gradually evolves into a gown that has a natural waistline, tight fitting bodice, and very full skirt. The attention is on the skirt and the full detachable sleeves.

Reproduction of the typical female garment or gown. Note the waistline has lowered from the houppeland, the neck becomes squared rather than v-necked or round, and while the top of the sleeves are close to the body, an enormous macherons or false sleeve (black item) becomes a focal point. Please note that this sleeve may be seen lower on the arm as well. The gown in Figure 8 also has a frame under it called a shakefold or verdugale (Tortora). Often the entire gown is referred to as the shakefold. The frame is made from thin stripes of wood fashioned into a frame that supports the skirt of the gown in the cone-like shape. The white portion is an undergown and meant to be seen. Some of these became quite elaborate. In addition a cord, the cordeliere, was often wrapped around the waist and hung down the center front of the skirt. These were covered with jewels. As your textbook will point out the costumes from the various countries differed somewhat so you

Women’s Headgear:
English Burger’s Wife, c. 1540. The fabric is not as decorative, but the square neck is evident and the layering of skirts is evident. The English headgear is called an Architecture Headdress or DogHouse headdress. It is covered by a sheer veil, the remains of the wimple.

Men’s clothing
Tailoring continued to evolve in this century as every part of the male and female’s attire was controlled by his/her tailor. The slim look of the late middle ages gave rise to the broad shouldered and square look of the man of the early 16th century.

Men wore a shirt under their clothing. This shirt is important because it suddenly is seen very minutely at the neckline but will continue to grow in importance. Figure 20 the shirt is the small wisp of white fabric seen at the neck. It is generally very full, especially in the sleeves. They wear a doublet (formerly the pourpoint) over the shirt, worn to the waist, and it will serve to hold up the trunk hose. In Figure 20 the doublet is the black and white garment. It is a vest-like garment and is often decorated with slashings, panes, jewels, or other ornamentation. The neckline shape and sleeve shape will change from country to country and from year to year, so you might see a variation in these areas. The jerkin is an over garment often cut the same length as the doublet. It may look long as bases (men’s skirts) were often worn with it and used the same fabrication. In Figure 20 these are red and shaped to the body. Figure 20 shows a jacket which is the very full garment with large satin collar jacket. Jackets are often trimmed with fu, worn over the jerkin, and usually extended to the knee with full sleeves. However, in some portraits we are uncertain if the sleeves belong to the doublet, the jerkin, or the jacket.

Hose were now cut in one piece from waist to toe at the beginning of the century. But soon separate into upper or trunk hose and lower hose or nether socks. They were also highly decorated with slashings, “By 1515 hardly any unbroken surface of the trunk hose was left above the knees. So large were the openings that a second pair of plain hose were usually worn under the slashed ones. This was one reason for dividing full-length hose, a form of trousers, into two parts during the 16th century.” Bases, a skirt made from columnar folds was worn over the trunk hose and reached from waist to mid-thigh. It could be made of a very rich fabric. The codpiece can still be seen. Rapier, or sword is often carried.

Textiles:
Textile became very fancy. Many brocades, damasks, velvets were used. In addition,
there were many fabrics that were incrusted with jewels.

Ostrich feathers popular and worn in hats. Beaver was brought from the “New” world and used in hats and fur collars. Many types of fur were used as trimming in clothing: ermine, sable, mink, rabbit, fox, etc. Figure 27. Two laborers beating flax. Linen was a common fiber used to make different types of fabric. The weavers often combined linen and wool.

Accessories:
Duck-billed shoes can be seen on the feet. They are flatted out at the toe, often padded
out, and slashed. See figure 25 and 23. They often use the slashing decorative device.
Boots were introduced to the Renaissance. Although the Romans and Greeks used boots,
they disappeared for many years.

Although it is difficult to see from this illustration, this working woman is
wearing chopines on her feet to keep her shoes from the mud. Chopines were a wooden
galoche that had a thick sole or stilts to keep the shoes out of the grime of the streets.Films: A Man for All Seasons

movies:

Six Wives of Henry VIII
Anne of the Thousand Days
The New World
Reading: Chapter 8 The Northern Renaissance

Discussions #11 In your own words describe the zeitgeist of the Renaissance. There
are many articles about the Renaissance, but describe in your own understanding.

During the 16th century, Inspirational leaders like Cicero and Plato reawakened Renaissance. In the European cultures, sincerity of beliefs was what they focused on the most. The evolution of art, music, medicine, politics and learning were revived as the classics. As far as the arts, in 1503, images of 3-D pictures were revealed. One example of a famous painting is the painting of the Mona Lisa. Technology was taking a turn as well with surgery being the foundation of modern medicine, the printing press. Trade was getting popular as well. Great explorers like Desoto, Balboa and Columbus began imported products like gold, tobacco, corn and tomatoes. This began the increase of the middle class. Religion is still important during this time with this attitude of reformation. Textile became very fancy especially with many brocades, demasks, velvets, and jewels. Ostrich feathers were popular especially when worn with hats and trimmings in clothing. I would describe the early 16th century as the century to discover. Many new inventions were discovered and many explorers were curious about conquering the lands.

Women’s clothing involves the Houppelande from the 14th and 15th centuries, but gradually evolved into a long gown with a natural waistline, tight fitting to the body, and full skirts. Rather than the v-neck in the centuries before, the v-neck transformed into a squared nack line. This garment has detachable sleeves, called false sleeves that became the focal point. Though some portions of the garment, like the undergown were elaborate with stitching, the womens Houppelande from the century before was much more detailed. The women’s headgear was still very popular during this time though there are some differences compared to the century before. Architecture headdress is the name of the headdress for women during this century. Here, the headdress is covered with a sheer veil. Unlike the pointy cone hat of the 15th century, these headdresses were more round shaped. Probably because the architecture was not as detailed as before. During this time, it seems as though the women’s garments were tight to the bodice, covering every inch of the body. Is there a reason why? Maybe it is because of religious ideals?

The men’s clothing during this time evolved into more tailored clothing. The men had broad shoulders making the man of the 16th century appear larger than the actual size of the body. During this time, like women, men wore an undergarment. For men it was a shirt which becomes important later on. A doublet was worn over the shirt, and the jerkin was worn over the garment. Then, a jacket was also worn on top of that. The men’s outfit make it seem like it might have always been cold, or men were not allowed to show their body. The trunk hose and nether socks were worn on the legs and were highly decorated with slashings like in the 14th and 15th centuries. These fabrics were made of rich fabrics, which probably meant the families were rich or probably traded with others. Duck-billed shoes were worn with a flat toe, padded, and slashed. And boots were also introduced during this period. Why is it that during this century, it seemed like the fabrics were finer and more heavy on the bodice? I think this probably had to do with the trading and receiving finer products.

Trading increases, towns begin to grow, and a middle class rises. Although the diaries of
Marco Polo had helped to establish Italy as an important trade route, the Italian textile
trade declines due to the changing trade routes and it loses its prestigious as a dominant
country in world events. Before the 14th century it was considered sinful to trade for
profit, now it becomes an important occupation that will result in the rise of the
merchants, burgers, and middle classes. Lorenzo Medici and others were happy to display
their new wealth by sumptuous clothing, art, and housing. The Mona Lisa was started in
1503. Recently 3-D images have revealed that the sitter for the Mona Lisa, a portrait of
Lisa Gherardini, wife of the Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo, was pregnant
in the portrait because she was wearing a “guarnello”, a veil worn only by pregnant
women.
The evolution of towns since the 11th century has almost completely taken over the feudal
system.
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