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The Clothing of the Renaissance World: Europe - Asia - Africa - The Americas [Hardcover]

Ann Rosalind Jones , Margaret F. Rosenthal
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 17, 2008 0500514267 978-0500514269

A tour de force of scholarship and book production: an essential reference for anyone interested in costume history, Renaissance studies, theater, and ethnography.

The Venetian Cesare Vecellio’s two books on the costumes of the known world were hugely popular and influential in their time, and their lively descriptions and vivid illustrations have captivated readers ever since. This is the first time that the entire first edition of 1590, along with the New World section from the 1598 second edition, have been translated and published with their original woodcuts.

Here we rediscover the world as seen in the sixteenth century. Beginning with the dress of the inhabitants of Venice—from the grandest doge to the humblest porter—Vecellio’s project quickly grew to include all of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Like his contemporaries, Vecellio assumed that clothing acted as an identifier of rank, yet he also realized, in a very modern way, that fashion was constantly changing, crossing borders, and transforming the way people lived.

All the woodcuts are reproduced full size and accompanied by Vecellio’s commentaries on each costume. An extensive, illustrated introduction by two of the world’s leading experts on Renaissance literature and culture offers the most thorough context possible, complete with additional color illustrations: portraits and sculptures, maps and cityscapes, and details of textiles.

436 woodcuts and 100 color illustrations

Frequently Bought Together

The Clothing of the Renaissance World: Europe - Asia - Africa - The Americas + Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families, Fortunes, and Fine Clothing (The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science)
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Editorial Reviews


“A collector’s treasure and valuable library reference… Essential.” (Choice)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (November 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500514267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500514269
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 10.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a Beautiful Window through Time July 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a lovely, generous publication. It is a graceful translation from sixteenth century Italian of Cesare Vecellio's all encompassing look at clothing from much of the known world of that time.

The 540 illustrations are elegant clear. There is a fascinating description of that period in history by the authors. Beautiful color illustrations are included in this introduction.

This book will be left out in a favorite reading place to be seen and revisited often!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This large, heavy book is a translation of De gli Habiti Antichi e Modérni di Diversi Parti di Mondo which was a book of "world costume" published in Venice in 1590 by Cesare Vecillo. The illustrations of foreign places and historical figures are often fanciful, but the contemporary illustrations reflect the garments that were being worn throughout Europe at the time.

Unlike many other reprints of De gli Habiti Antichi e Modérni di Diversi Parti di Mondo, this volume translates not just the "labels" on the illustrations, but the detailed notes and descriptions by Vecillo which provide an illuminating look into the opinions of one Renaissance man about the cultures of Europe and the world. Anyone interested in Renaissance dress will find this book enlightening; however, it is not an introduction to the topic or an overview, but rather a detailed translation of a specific text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
How sad that there is no Look Inside feature--the 4 Images on this product page don't do the insides justice so I added some more. This book is as interesting historically as a source of depictions of various countries' dress as it is of political and ethnological study. These amazing historians, authors Margaret F. Rosenthal and Ann Rosalind Jones, took years to translate Cesare Vecellio's "Habiti Antiochi et Moderni": The Clothing, Ancient and Modern, of Various Parts of the World published in 1590 and then its follow-up publication of 1598, The Clothing, Ancient and Modern, of the Whole World. Both books are incorporated here with truly excellent discussion and commentary by the authors.

As a coffee table book, this is unusual: it's more like a heavy box with dimensions of 9.5" by 11.5" by 2.5". To keep it from being unwieldy, make sure you rest it on a table to peruse and not in your lap. But peruse it you must. I've displayed several of the woodcuts Vecellio employed to illustrate every single style of dress he discussed. His cousin was Titian from whom he learned a lot about drawing so that must have earned the high respect it would have taken to get his books published in the 16th century.

If you want illustrations for purposes of Renaissance Fairs, look to In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion

Being a student of Tudor times, I found it fascinating how little of English dress he included considering the enormous changes in power and influence Henry VIII and Elizabeth I make in Europe and the world during the time this book was being formed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure! March 24, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great reference book. It is a treasure. I love the illustrations….just wish that there were more in color.
The text is very interesting, particularly the way it is written, in the archaic language of the time.
The commentary which explains the style and mindset of the Renaissance not only in dress but
in attitude is worth exploring.

The book was delivered on time and in good condition. Thank you
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice coffee table book October 16, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a BIG, heavy book. It has a lot of pictures, many in color, and seems to show men's fashions more than women's. Of course, in those days, men were the peacocks, and many women never left their homes. Nice to browse through.
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