Remaking the Renaissance

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Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery

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Remaking the Renaissance offers a fresh take on this iconic period of textile and fashion history, transforming the way we think about and see the cloth and clothing of the early modern period. 

Looking at key textile innovations in the era c.1400-1700, Remaking the Renaissance suggests that objects and their histories can be restored and recreated through conservation and research. The material and technical innovations of the period, such as rich crimson velvets, elegant silk knitted stockings, delicate lace trimmings, and highly sculptured tailored garments, are refashioned through reconstructions and hands-on research. Rethinking the Renaissance anew, it also widens our understanding of the early modern textile world – showing how fashions were made, imitated, and disseminated among the wider population.

Demonstrating that remaking is an academic and creative research method, this exhibition shows how material loss and survival bias can be overcome through conservation, scientific testing, hands-on experimentation, and material and digital reconstructions. Remaking the Renaissance draws on the significant textile holdings of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and new works from UW researchers, as well as key loans from across UW campus and from the European Research Council-funded Refashioning the Renaissance project.

This exhibition was developed with generous support from Susan J. and Harry C. Engstrom as part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection is ready for the next generation of students and scholars. Additional support comes from the Anonymous Fund.


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Photo of several maroon and yellow textiles layered on top of each other with the words Remaking the Renaissance over them.