The fifteenth-century proto-feminist writer, Christine de Pizan, complained that she often saw her contemporaries dressing above their social class.
(Paris) This summer spotlights the theme of Fashion worldwide. As part of its series of 20th year anniversary celebrations, the gallery Les Enluminures plans an exhibition on fashion in its Paris space in the Louvre des Antiquaires. Approximately 35 works of art are featured in “Dressing Up and Dressing Down in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Costume in Art,” from May 5 to August 25.
Les Enluminures founder Sandra Hindman says the exhibition will include manuscripts, single leaves and cuttings, sculpture, and rings. An electronic catalogue will accompany the exhibition and a virtual tour will be available on the Internet at www.lesenluminures.com.
Hindman says, “’Dressing Up and Dressing Down….” is coordinated with two museum exhibitions that take place at the same time. One, at the Morgan Library and Museum, “Illuminating Fashion,” opens on May 20 and continues through September 4 and is accompanied by a long-awaited publication by Ann van Buren and Roger Wieck. At the Getty Museum, “Fashion in the Middle Ages” is displayed simultaneously from May 31 to August 21. It is accompanied by a Getty Publication by Margaret Scott.”
Hindman explains that, “’Dressing Up and Dressing Down…..’ is organized around three themes. The first takes the title of the exhibition and shows how in many diverse ways people in the Middle Ages dressed their parts. It was so important to dress according to one’s station in life and occupation that the fifteenth-century proto-feminist writer, Christine de Pizan, complained that she often saw her contemporaries dressing above their social class. Thus, the nobility favored lavish houppelands (gowns) and surcotes (overcoats or tunics), often fur-lined, usually with miniver (white fur used in ceremonial garments) or squirrel. The peasants wore simpler garments.”
“The second theme is “Wearing Color.” Color was frequently a code: blue for royalty, green for hope and youth, red and green together signified bold youth, and so forth. Stripes were to be strictly avoided: only prisoners, executioners, those people on the margins of society wore stripes. The middle class often wore more sober colors: witness the neutral-colored garment worn by the head of the tailor’s guild in Bologna, along with the scissors (symbol of the guild) in the margin.”
“The third theme, “Accessorizing Costume,” throws a spotlight on rings and some pendants. At least in Italy sumptuary laws regulated the wearing of gold jewelry, but plenty of silver and even bronze jewelry was available for the lower estates. Merchants wore their rings on the index finger for ease of sealing with them. The numerous paintings of the period in which wealthy sitters wear as many as 8 to 10 rings on a single hand show just how popular this bejeweled accessory had become.”
Sandra Hindman adds, “We are excited about this exhibition, which is the second in a series of four to celebrate our 20th year anniversary. Because visitors in New York and California will have a chance to see many works in which fashion figures, we believe that the our audience of gallery-goers—composed mostly of European and Americans—will also be interested in our event. Paris is, after all, ‘the fashion capital of the world!’ Those who can’t come to Paris will visit the exhibition virtually—such is the beauty of the Internet.”
Highlights of LES ENLUMINURES” summer show, “Dressing Up and Dressing Down in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Costume in Art” include an exceptionally rare Maestro del 1346 Leaf from the Statuto della Società dei Sarti (Tailor’s Guild) illustrated with the Captain of the Guild, the symbols of the Guild, and the arms of the Angevin king and the city of Bologna (297 x 217mm). Hindman says, “This rare illumination of a member of the Guild prefaces the names of the members of the Guild for the years 1332 and 1334 . The Guild’s symbol, a pair of scissors, appears in the lower margin. This leaf is the only surviving witness of this particular Guild. Works by this highly gifted artist are extremely rare and in private hands, as are surviving works from Statues or Matricolae.”
Another featured leaf is the Simon Bening Saint Jerome where, Hindman says, “Costume is used with portraiture to signify that the owner of the book, Cardinal Albrecht von Brangenberg, is a modern-day Saint Jerome. Note the two men in contemporary Renaissance dress in the background.” This leaf dates to 1522-23 Bruges, Belgium. (174x125mm)
A Missal of Jan de Broedere in Latin is a scene of “Veneration of the Host,” Hindman says. “Here the priest is wearing a splendid liturgical alb sewn with gold. In the foreground, the kneeling man, probably from the entourage of the abbot Jan de Broedere, is suited with a fashioned blue coat surrounded by a warm fur.”
A Merchants Ring made of Gold in the 15th century in England is also featured in the Les Enluminures show. Hindman says, “Merchants, who were not entitled to bear arms, typically wore their rings on their index finger because they used them for sealing. The odd markings were used to stamp their goods and as signatures.”
Sandra Hindman founded Les Enluminures gallery in Paris 20 years ago at the Le Louvre des Antiquaires, opposite The Louvre, and it is among the top sources for the most significant Medieval and Renaissance miniatures, manuscripts and art acquired by major museums and private collectors. The gallery is a featured exhibitor at the world’s most prestigious antiques and art fairs in New York, Paris, Maastricht, San Francisco, and London. Hindman divides her time between her Paris gallery and her offices in Chicago and has written many books and catalogues on the subject.
“Dressing Up and Dressing Down in
the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Costume in Art”
May 5 to August 25, 2011
Le Louvre des Antiquaires,
2 Place du Palais-Royal,
75001 Paris (France)
Tel: +33 1 42 60 15 58
Please contact Susan Bishopric at THE BISHOPRIC AGENCY for interviews and high resolution images. 212 289 2227 or firstname.lastname@example.org