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.

Tap here for more details

Isabella d’Este’s letters win scholarly prize

Isabella d’Este’s Selected Letters (Toronto and Tempe AZ: Iter Academic Press and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017), translated and edited by IDEA co-director Deanna Shemek of the University of California, Irvine, has been awarded the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women’s prize for the best translation of a woman’s work in 2017. The committee selected Shemek’s edition in translation “because it provides the first collection of a broad selection of d’Este’s letters and the first translation of this material into English.” Committee members praised the volume’s “clear presentation of biographical detail in the excellent work done in situating d’Este’s significance culturally and historically in Shemek’s introduction.  They also noted that the volume “represents a monumental undertaking in both scale and scope,”  given Shemek’s “decision to include letters that cover a broad range of topics—including trade, political diplomacy, and art collecting [which] convey to the reader a sense of life in Renaissance Europe while also directly engaging issues that will be of interest to scholars who study women/gender, violence against women, reproduction, sexuality, and marriage.” Finally, the committee also recognized “the stunning scope of this translation and the significant labor of the translation of [hundreds] of letters from manuscript. To have these letters in print and translated will open up the study of d’Este to many more students and scholars. The breadth of the collection makes this volume relevant to a wide audience.”

New addition to the IDEA Video Archive

Lisa Boutin Vitela of IDEA Ceramics provides an overview of Isabella d’Este’s collection with a discussion of Isabella’s maiolica service in the video, “Early Renaissance Courts: Isabella d’Este.” Viewers may also be interested in her broader discussion in “Early Renaissance Art of the Italian Courts.” Dr. Boutin Vitela’s YouTube Channel Art History Basix explores art of the ancient, medieval, and early modern world.

IDEA Seminar for RSA 2019

Risky Business: Managing Risks in the Design and Development
of Digital Humanities Projects

Anne MacNeil, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Deanna Shemek, University of California, Santa Cruz

Funding agencies often ask the principal investigators of digital humanities projects to reflect on the risks inherent in their proposals and to identify potential strategies for addressing such threats. For this seminar, we will invite contributors to share information about their digital humanities projects, highlighting how hazards have materialized and what approaches project teams have employed to address them. Common threats to digital projects include unforeseen changes in personnel; the superseding of chosen technology and/or tools by better ones; hiccups in the research team’s time management or work flow; shortfalls in participation for crowd-sourced project elements; the complexities of obtaining rights to use proprietary materials; hitches in parsing both work plan and funding for a multi-stage project; and more. Our seminar’s goal is to strengthen the knowledge base and confidence of current and future leaders of digital humanities projects by airing some of the pitfalls encountered in digital work and sharing the various strategies our community has devised to confront them. By coming together as a group, we aim not only to learn from previous projects, but also to brainstorm new approaches to digital studies of the Renaissance.

Seminar participants should apply via the RSA website starting 1 July 2018.

For more information, visit the RSA website here

Project launch: IDEA Bibliography

We are happy to announce a new addition to the
IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive suite of resources!

Sarah Cockram

IDEA Bibliography is an extensive bibliography of published primary sources and secondary literature related to all disciplines represented in IDEA. The bibliography is easy to use and designed for anyone with an interest in Isabella, from those looking for

Marie-Louise Leonard

introductory or biographical material to experienced researchers. As a living resource, IDEA Bibliography is updated regularly with new publications on the “first lady” of the Renaissance.

IDEA Bibliography has been produced by a Scottish team of Dr. Marie-Louise Leonard (University of Glasgow) and Dr. Sarah Cockram (University of Edinburgh), kindly supported by funding from the University of Glasgow.

Link to IDEA Bibliography at Zotero here

IDEA’s new design

We hope you like the new design of IDEA’s websites! All of the content from the old sites is still here, just in a different format. You’ll see on the IDEA Home site that the events calendar and IDEA Blog are highlighted so you can more readily keep track of the public presentations, project launches, and research developments that have become such a big part of IDEA in the last few years.

The new sites are designed to accommodate more content, and we’ve been busy working with new researchers and commissioning essays. Each essay is evaluated by readers and copy-edited to insure standards of scholarly excellence. If you would like to propose an essay or an entire project to IDEA, please tap the “Contact Us” button in the blue field at the bottom of any screen – we welcome your contributions!

On all of IDEA’s sites – IDEA HomeArt/e, Letter/e, Music/a – the left side of the splashpage focuses on the continually developing environment – the events calendar, project descriptions, research platforms, and users’ guides, – while the right column offers introductory essays about the Isabella d’Este Archive and Isabella’s interactions with various subjects. Each site contains different essays, and we’ve begun peppering IDEA’s sites with secret treasures as well, so be sure to explore!

IDEA’s new design makes navigation much easier than before. The navigation bar at the top of every screen features nested menus with links to all IDEA’s websites and informational pages about each project. The blue field at the bottom of every screen offers a site map, image links to IDEA websites, and a “Contact Us” button. If you would like to receive email notifications about new events, tap the “Follow” tab on the right side of your screen.

Watch for new developments at IDEA! The IDEA Bibliography project is preparing to launch, and we’re looking forward to new essays in the early months of 2018.