Medieval fashion, as seen in the manuscripts and early printed books from the Later Middle Ages, is the subject of a new exhibition at The Morgan Library and Museum entitled Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands. The exhibition, which opened yesterday, includes more than 50 works of Northern European origin from the Morgan’s renowned collections, and also features four full-scale replicas of clothing seen in exhibited manuscripts. It will run through September 4.
Covering nearly 200 years prior to the beginning of the full Renaissance in France about 1515, Illuminating Fashion examines a period in which clothing styles changed more rapidly than had previously been the case, often from one decade to the next. Social custom, cultural influences, and politics—such as the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453) and the occupation of Paris by the English (in the 1420s)—had a notable impact on fashion, and medieval illuminators deftly recorded these shifts in taste.
The exhibition also touches upon how artists used clothing (garments actually worn) and costume (fantastic garments not actually worn) to help contemporaneous viewers interpret a work of art. The garments depicted were often encoded clues to the wearer’s identity and character.
Click here to read this article from Medievalist.net