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Beautiful Florentines: powders & paint in the Renaissance


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Beautiful Florentines: perfumes, powders and paint in the Renaissance.

A public lecture by Professor Evelyn Welch, Provost (Arts & Sciences), King’s College London

The portraits of Renaissance men and women show unblemished skin, smooth, well-groomed hair and strong, handsome physiques. Women were all shown with pale white complexions while the men all have full heads of hair and ruddy cheeks. But their skeletons tell a different story, one of disease, pox-marks and deformities.

In this talk, Evelyn Welch will discuss the many recipes, potions and procedures that were used to both improve physical appearance but also to protect beauty in Renaissance Florence between 1500 and 1700. Drawing on images in the Corsini and other Italian collections, she will help today’s viewers imagine a very different sense of health and beauty in the past.

Evelyn Welch is Professor of Renaissance Studies and Provost (Arts & Sciences) at King’s College London. She has been working on how we learn from things that were made in the past for many years. Writing about clothing, politics and social order, she uses sensory information as well as archival documents to explore the ‘period body’ in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe.

This lecture is presented by the UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and has been made possible by the generous support of the Australian Institute of Art History.