Renaissance Costume

One of the most famous costume books of the renaissance is De gli Habiti Antichi e Modérni di Diversi Parti di Mondo (1590) by Cesare Vecellio, the cousin of the painter Titian. The illustrations were likely not his own, but instead the woodcuts of Christopher Krieger from Nuremberg. This book describes the clothing of people from all over the world, sometimes accurately and often with a great deal of imagination. In the examples shown here, the woman with a salad head is “Ancient Woman”, the man with the unfortunate hat is “Ancient Dogalina” which refers to the peculiar outfit he is wearing, and the man with the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is “Emperor.” You may browse a 1st edition of this book here.

In 1859 a French translation was published with upgraded illustrations, titled Costumes anciens et modernes, habiti antichi e moderni di tutto il mondo. The images were reworked fairly closely to their originals, but are clearly more detailed than the original woodcuts and remain full of character. The woman shown here with an incredible cowl is “Gentlewoman of Brabanti or Antwerp”, and the final image is “Biarmia Man.” We are extremely excited to work on editing the drawings from this book in the coming weeks. You can browse it in two parts, here and here.

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