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.
Young Love in the Spring (Part 2) ca. 1517–20
Seated in a rose garden, a girl weaves a flower garland for her suitor. She
is the illustration for the month of May from a prayer book, the calendar
illustrations of which were excised during the nineteenth century and
inserted into this album. The maiden is dressed in the new Italianate
fashion. Her gown is cut with a low, square neck revealing the top of her
linen smock. Her sleeves are in two parts, tied together and to the gown
with gold laces. The linen of her smock pokes through at her shoulders,
elbows, and the slits of the lower sleeve.
Album of Calendar Miniatures
France, Tours, ca. 1517–20
Illuminated by the Master of
Claude de France
74 x 68 mm
Purchased as the gift of the Virginia M.
Schirrmeister Charitable Lead Trust, Mrs.
Alexandre P. Rosenberg, Gifford Combs, James
H. Marrow, Melvin R. Seiden, Salle Vaughn,
and Sotheby's, and on the E. Clark Stillman
Fund, in memory of Charles Ryskamp, 2010; MS M.1171, fols. 4v–5r
After the coronation of François I in 1515, a fundamental change came about in French art and culture. The king, known even during his lifetime as "father of the arts," was a connoisseur who imported major Italian artists (Leonardo da Vinci among the first) and artworks to France on a grand scale. Italian fashions, which began to appear during the reign of his predecessor, Louis XII, flowered under François.
For men, the long bulky gowns of the previous period disappeared, replaced by short ones with wide shoulders. Worn open and with short sleeves, the new gown showed off the slashed front and sleeves of Italianate doublets that offered sexy glimpses of the man's linen shirts. Low-brimmed hats, worn at jaunty angles, were decorated with slanted ostrich feathers. Shoes were square-toed, their uppers sometimes slashed.
Women, too, adopted Italian styles. Their gowns, featuring low, square necks, provided glimpses of their linen smocks. Sleeves also displayed the smock: these were now often worn loosely tied to the bodice or split into two parts and slit along the underside.