Textiles, Trade, and Meaning: Clothing and Textiles at the Court of Mantua under Isabella d’Este Receives Australasian Funding

Catherine Kovesi
University of Melbourne, Australia

A team of researchers headed by Professor Catherine Kovesi of the University of Melbourne has been funded by the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies (ACIS) to explore Renaissance fashion and commerce through the vehicle of Isabella d’Este’s wardrobe. This transnational research cluster will “tease out the what, the how, and the why of clothing, textiles and accoutrements in the courts of northern Italy” by focusing in-depth on Isabella d’Este’s court. The project will create for display in IDEA an interactive image of the portrait of Isabella painted by Titian (circa 1534) that now hangs in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum and “unpack each aspect of the clothing seen in this portrait—her fur, her gloves, her distinctive headdress, her sleeves, the dyes and textiles employed in her garments—as well as what we don’t see, namely her undergarments.” The research team will connect these details to Isabella’s correspondence and to relevant bibliography, thus creating an exciting new tool for researchers and students in history, the history of art, and the social sciences.

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