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How to Be a Renaissance Woman

An alternative history of the Renaissance—as seen through the emerging literature of beauty tips—focusing on the actresses, authors, and courtesans who rebelled against the misogyny of their era.

Beauty, make-up, art, power: How to Be a Renaissance Woman presents an alternative history of this fascinating period as told by the women behind the paintings, providing a window into their often overlooked or silenced lives.

Can the pressures women feel to look good be traced back to the sixteenth century?

As the Renaissance visual world became populated by female nudes from the likes of Michelangelo and Titian, a vibrant literary scene of beauty tips emerged, fueling debates about cosmetics and adornment. Telling the stories of courtesans, artists, actresses, and writers rebelling against the strictures of their time, when burgeoning colonialism gave rise to increasingly sinister evaluations of bodies and skin color, this book puts beauty culture into the frame. Hardcover, 336 pages.

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