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The Fruit Seller, by Vincenzo Campi (1580)

Our banner image on the front page of the website is The Fruit seller by Vincenzo Campi,  from 1580. The painting is kept at the collection of Pinacoteca di Brera, in Milan, and measures 143 x 213 cm. It depicts a young woman selling fruit, and it ties to the tradition of late sixteenth-century Italian genre paintings. These genre scenes afforded curious Renaissance gentlemen the possibility of observing how the lower orders lived, worked, and dressed, while still maintaining a distance from the subjects.

The painting offers an interesting look into the clothing of the fruit seller. She is dressed in a front-opening yellow gown with a green apron and a high-necked linen shirt. Her relatively basic clothes  are designed to provide maximum comfort and practicality during work. For example, although the upper part of the fruit-seller’s dress seems to be tufted, the wrinkles across the bodice imply that there are no boning or corset. In addition, the upper part of the outfit includes large ribbons where the sleeves could be attached, but she is wearing the dress without sleeves. Emphasizing durability, comfort, and practicality rather than beauty, the represented clothing ties the wearer to her role as manual labourer. A closer look, however, reveals that the fruit seller’s dress includes several details that respond to contemporary taste. For example, her linen shirt is decorated with lacy edging that matches both her ruff and sleeve cuffs according to the taste of the period, and her green apron includes a yellow embroidery pattern, perhaps made in imitation of gold embroidery.

These kinds of visual messages were well understood by contemporaries. Archival evidence from early modern Italy shows that artisans and shopkeepers often used a wide range of methods to update ordinary dress to conform to current fashions. It was not just simply a matter of fashion “trickling” down through the social layers, but popular groups created meanings, rules and practises of their own, and built their identities through self-fashioning.

However, there has been surprisingly little discussion on how non-élite members of society dressed in early modern Europe, and there is a demand for a rigorous interdisciplinary study of Renaissance fashion that investigates how fashion developed and evolved in dialogue, and across, social groups. Refashioning the Renaissance project draws visual, documentary and material evidence to shed light on popular taste, dissemination, transformation, and adaptation of fashion, of imitation and meaning, and of changing cultural attitudes to dress among popular groups. Campi’s Fruit Seller reflects these ideas and attitudes, and is a fitting image for the project.

Source: 
Hohti, Paula: ‘Dress, dissemination and change: Artisan ‘Fashions’ in Renaissance Italy’, in E. Welch (ed.), Fashioning the Early Modern: Creativity and Innovation in Europe, 1500-1800 (Oxford University Press/Pasold, 2017), 143-165.

‘Voices from the Colonies’. Exhibition Opening at the National Museum

Friday the 13th October Paula Hohti, Anne-Kristine Sindvald Larsen and Jane Malcolm-Davis attended the opening of the National Museum of Denmark’s newest permanent exhibition ‘Voices from the Colonies’, which tells the story of the people who lives were affected by the colonial empire of Denmark.

The Opening was a great opportunity to network and experience the collections of the National museum of Denmark, which are highly relevant for the Refashioning the Renaissance project.

After hearing the opening speeches from the National Museum, the team had a look around in the new exhibition. We were especially exited to see three pairs of knitted socks. Afterwards there was also time to have a quick look in the Medieval and Renaissance exhibitions which we hope to collaborate with in the future.

Paula Hohti and Anne-Kristine Sindvald Larsen are posing in front of some of the favourite items in the exhibition ‘Voices from the Colonies’.

Apply to Postdoctoral Researcher Position in Our Project

13 October 2017

Postdoctoral Researcher

The position is fixed-term and will be filled for 3 years. The starting date is 1st January 2018, or negotiable.

Job responsibilities

The Postdoctoral Researcher will work within the ERC funded research project Refashioning the Renaissance: Popular Groups, Fashion and the Material and Cultural Significance of Clothing in Europe, 1550-1650, led by Professor Paula Hohti (PI). This project studies the meanings and dissemination of western fashion in early modern Europe, especially at the lower social levels, and develops new material-based experimental and scientific research methods in dress history.

The team will consist of a Research fellow, Postdoctoral researcher, a Doctoral researcher, a Research assistant and a Project administrator, who will collectively work towards the Refashioning the Renaissance project’s research goals. The Postdoctoral Researcher’s task is to design and carry out the project’s research on early modern Italian dress and fashion (1550-1650), focusing on printed and archival information of dress, textiles, appearance, body and beauty. In addition, the Postdoctoral researcher is expected to participate in the project’s experimental work and teaching and training activities, as well as to organize workshops and seminars and publish articles both independently and in collaboration with other team members. The main duties of the Postdoctoral Researcher include:

  • To identify and record relevant printed information of dress in European archives and libraries
  • To carry out archival work in Italian archives
  • To design methods for historical reconstruction
  • To create a dataset for the project’s database and publish at least three articles
  • Teaching and other assisting work related to the project’s research activities

Requirements

Qualified candidates for the Postdoctoral Researcher’s position hold a PhD degree in early modern history or in a related field. In addition, the successful candidates should have 

  • Fluent skills in English and Italian language
  • Previous experience of archival work
  • Excellent research skills
  • Good communication skills and the ability to work in a team

The Postdoctoral Researcher’s position involves several research trips in Europe, and approximately 10% of the working time should be spent at Aalto University, Finland.

Salary

3500€ per month. In addition, the position includes an allowance towards research travel, conferences, training and publication costs. Aalto University follows the salary system of Finnish universities.

How to apply

To apply for the position, please submit your application containing

  • Motivation letter (1 page)
  • Research proposal (2 pages)
  • CV (2 pages)
  • List of publications (2 pages)
  • Sample of writing

The applications for the Postdoctoral researcher position are to be submitted through the Aalto University eRecruitment system no later than on 20 October, 2017.

Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

For more information

For additional information, please contact Professor Paula Hohti, paula.hohti@aalto.fi or in recruitment process related questions HR-coordinator Elina Säkki-Anttila elina.sakki@aalto.fi.

APPLY HERE