On the Importance of Being an Individual in Renaissance Italy: Men, Their Professions, and Their Beards

By Douglas Biow | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Facing the Day: Reflections on a Sudden Change
in Fashion and the Magisterial Beard

LOOK AT ANY PORTRAIT OF ELITE MEN IN RENAISSANCE ITALY BEFORE 1500. Take, for instance, a sophisticated humanist: Angelo Poliziano, Pomponio Leto, Ermolao Barbaro, Leon Battista Alberti, Jacopo Sanazzaro, Lorenzo Valla, Bartolomeo Platina, or Giovanni Pontano, for whom wearing a beard, as it turns out, could at times constitute a hideous sight.1 Or take a rulingclass Florentine patrician, such as Cosimo de’ Medici, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Piero de’ Medici, or any other elite Florentine of the period, much less any other Italian man belonging to the cultural elite before 1500, such as those depicted with sometimes unflattering realism in Andrea Mantegna’s The Family and Court of Ludovico III Gonzaga in Mantua (fig. 15) or those skillfully designed in Donatello’s and Verrocchio’s equestrian bronze statues of the celebrated condottieri Colleoni and Gattamelata in Venice and Padua (figs. 1 and 5). Go ahead. Try it. Select, if you want, individual portraits, group portraits, portraits that idealize male sitters, portraits that show every grubby little feature, such as the often anthologized one by Domenico Ghirlandaio, which reveals the unsightly protuberances—the putative cause of the malady of rhinophyma—on an elderly man’s oversized, bulbous nose as he gazes fondly at his adoring grandson (fig. 40).

Then look at any portrait of elite men in Renaissance Italy shortly after 1500. Pick one. Any one. What do you invariably begin to see increasingly as time passes? Beards. Beards. And more beards. Beards, to be sure, are suddenly all over the place in Renaissance Italy after the first few decades of 1500. They are simply, unforgettably, enchantingly there. Sometimes they appear in low relief, as the mere shadow of the suggestion of a growth crawling around chins and jowls as marauding, darkened peach fuzz. Sometimes, at the other end of the extreme, they appear with such effusiveness and a bold elaborate shape to them that they seem to become, in the case of Parmigianino’s marvelous rendition of the condottiere Gian Galeazzo Sanvitale, almost comically over the top, to the

-181-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
On the Importance of Being an Individual in Renaissance Italy: Men, Their Professions, and Their Beards
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 311

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.