Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Feeling Dandy

Msr. Bembo: "I cannot see, when he is well drawn in years, how it will stand well with him to be a lover, considering, as it hath been said the other night, love frameth not with old men, and the tricks that in young men be gallantless, courtesy, and preciseness so acceptable to women, in them are mere follies and fondess to be laughed at, and purchase him that them hatred of women and mocks of others"(Hoby 1).
Countess Nikkita: "Oh Bembo, how you do go on about being old."
Msr. Bembo: "But I am the more capable of lov-"
Countess Nikkita: "Do you hear that? I think that's someone calling me? Terribly sorry, I must go."

Oh Bembo (Or Hoby) what interesting points you make. But he does illucidate the more complicated ideas behind the practices of Renaissance court life. Selecting which mask to hide your face in public that also communicates your intents and status in society, how to court someone, which clothes to wear, how to laugh and dress and keeping up with fashion sounds completely maddening, but I want to focus on the masks in public.

Whenever members of society went places that required a mask (ie parks) they did so almost exclusively to be seen and to observe. To glean and create gossip. What was the point of the mask then? Easy parallels can be made to the modern tech renaissance, with the presentation of the self over social media. There is a right way and a wrong way to take off the mask, and although it would be difficult  to explain exactly how that is done, it's something that succesful users of social media inherently know.

I'm also including a link from the Toast which shows how women had to politely deal with the Bembo's of the Renaissance world:

Hoby, Thomas. The Courtier. Women Dropping Polite Hints in Western Art History


  1. I think you could also make the connection between renaissance self-making and control of public perception to modern politics. I suppose cultivating a persona has always been a part of politics, like you pointed out, social media puts it all into high gear.

  2. I like that you focused on masks because its so prevalent today. I'm in a digital culture class and we talked about how our online identity might be significantly different from our real identity--We still create masks.