This exhibition explores the evolution of courtly clothing from the
"Fashion Revolution" around 1330
This exhibition is generously underwritten by a gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden and
by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
Major support is provided by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., with additional assistance from
the van Buren family in memory of Dr. Anne H. van Buren, and from the Janine Luke and
Melvin R. Seiden Fund for Exhibitions and Publications.
A Fop Goes Hawking (Part 2) ca. 1505
As seen elsewhere in this exhibition, medieval calendars can be great
sources for representations of contemporaneous clothing. In this prayer
book it is the month of April that is illustrated by a fashionably dressed
young man with a falcon on his wrist. He wears a very luxurious fur-lined
full-length gown with wide lapels and large, open sleeves. His doublet is
open at his chest, revealing, below knotted ties, a linen shirt. His wide hat
has an upturned brim. Below the man is April's zodiacal sign of Taurus.
On the right, May is illustrated by a mounted king and the sign of Gemini.
Book of Hours, in Latin
France, Paris, ca. 1505
Illuminated by the Master
of Petrarch's Triumphs
179 x 115 mm
Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1906; MS M.618, fol. 2v–3r
This was a period of transition in northern Europe—the Middle Ages were not yet over, and the Renaissance had not yet begun. Both King Charles VIII and Louis XII invaded Italy, and these military campaigns exposed France to Italian art, culture, and fashion. At the same time, the Late Gothic style still dominated the arts—and clothing—of northern Europe. Fashions of this period reflect these conflicts.
In the 1480s, the look for men changed abruptly. Padded shoulders and the V-shaped silhouette disappeared. Long loose open gowns came into style and, by the 1490s, these gowns became especially voluminous and bulky. Round-toed shoes replaced the pointy pouleines. New, however, and probably reflecting Italian influence, were the man's outer coat called a sayon, the man's hat called a carmignolle, and doublets with slit sleeves through which the linen of the shirt protruded.
Women's gowns of this period also became fuller, and bombard sleeves were revived. The neck got square. The turret disappeared, while its frontlet remained, now attached to a new small-crowned coif.