Past Events

Public Lecture: Skin Deep

Evelyn Welch 'Skin Deep: Reading Emotion on Early Modern Bodies'

Public lecture to be given for the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

Based on traditional medical theories, early modern skin was often described as a ‘fishing net’, something that held the body in place and offered a decorative surface but had no function of ...

Call for Papers: Uncovering the Animal

Uncovering the Animal: Skin, Fur, Feathers 1450-1700

This Call for Papers is now closed

This half-day workshop at King's College London will reflect on the multiple ways in which animal skin and the by-products of the evacuation of humoreal excreta (hair, fur, feathers) were conceptualised and used between 1450 and 1700. Combining different historiographical approaches and sources (textual, material ...


Seminar: Touching the Renaissance

Evelyn Welch, 'Touching the Renaissance: The Material Culture of Skin in Europe, 1450-1700'

Seminar is part of the Art and the Senses Graduate Research Seminar Series

Evelyn will be presenting on the material culture of skin in the Renaissance as part of the University of Cambridge History of Art department's Graduate Research Seminar Series, Lent Term 2018 programme 'Art ...


Paper: Wrinkles and Recipes

Kathleen Walker-Meikle, 'Wrinkles and recipes: Hieronymus Mercurialis on beautifying skin'

Paper to be presented at the conference From Past to Present: Natural Cosmetics Unwrapped

This paper focuses on the sixteenth-century Italian physician Hieronymus Mercurialis’ text on beautifying the face and body: De decoratione (1601). As a counterpart to his most famous text on skin diseases (De morbis cutaneis, 1572), this ...


Reading Group: Fransen

Join us as we focus on recent work on observation and ways of looking at the body. We will explore how early moderns saw the body – technologically, physically, epistemically, artistically?

The third meeting of the Renaissance Skin Reading Group will discuss microscopy. Joining us will be Dr Sietske Fransen, from the ‘Making Visible’ project at the University of Cambridge. Fransen ...


Paper: Breaking Skin in Renaissance Italy

Evelyn Welch, 'Breaking Skin in Renaissance Italy'

Paper to be presented at the international conference Representing Infirmity: Diseased Bodies in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy

This paper presents the challenges of representing infirmities, from smallpox to toothache, that involved rupturing the skin posed in Early Modern Europe. Since Galen, skin, the top layer of the body, has been considered a ...


Paper: Suffering Through It

Paolo Savoia, 'Suffering Through It: Representations of Bodies in Surgery in Italian Books, ca. 1550-1650'

Paper to be presented at the international conference Representing Infirmity: Diseased Bodies in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy

In the Galenic tradition, medicine was distinct from surgery. While the former dealt with diseases caused by internal conditions (internal humoral imbalances), the task of surgery was ...


Conference: The Porous Body

The Porous Body in Early Modern Europe


Due to an overwhelming response, the conference is now full. Please follow us on Twitter for updates on any changes to availability.

In early modern medical theory, skin was imagined as a porous boundary. Plato, Hippocrates and Galen all agreed on the permeable quality of the skin, which the sixteenth century physician ...


Public Lecture: Seeing Through Fur

Thomas W. Laqueur, Seeing Through Fur: The Dog's Gaze in Western Art

Lecture: 6.00-7.00pm

Reception: 7.00-8.00pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Bush House, King's College London

More porous than skin is the eye. Even if it is not the lamp or the window of the soul, its gaze is revealing of what is inside the skin, of ...


Workshop: The Legible Body

The Legible Body: Skin, Paper, Parchment in Early Modern Europe

Workshop (closed event)

Due to the nature of this working group, this event is for invited participants only.

In early modern Europe, skin – both human and animal - formed part of the spirited world of matter. As leather, animal skin took on a vast array of forms, from shoes to buckets ...


Reading Group: Cavallo/Storey

Sandra Cavallo & Tessa Storey

Renaissance Skin Reading Group

Join us as we pursue the themes of porousness and excretion, as well as the methodological approach of using source-based and comparative material.

The second Renaissance Skin Reading Group will explore the porousness of the body and the role of the non-naturals in maintaining, preserving, and protecting its integrity. We will ...


Reading Group: Fend/Guerrini

Mechthild Fend & Anita Guerrini

Renaissance Skin Reading Group

Join us to explore the relationship between anatomy and art in interrogating and constructing early modern concepts of skin.

The Renaissance Skin Reading Group will meet for the first time to discuss the relationship between anatomy and art in interrogating and constructing early modern concepts of skin. We will read selections ...