Reading Group: Andrews

5th June 2019, 4-6pm, Strand Campus

We welcome Dr Noam Andrews (Ghent) at our Renaissance Skin Reading Group to discuss his work on tailors, geometry, and the surface of the body.

Andrews will explore the innovative contributions made by tailors to a new surface-oriented and surveyable conceptualization of the body that emerged in tandem with the onset of print media. Centering upon the tailoring pattern as a new print genre—in other words, easily reproducible, two-dimensional constructs delineating the contours of an imagined body for fabric to be mounted and stitched upon—Andrews locates practices of measurement more commonly associated with mixed-mathematics and the exact sciences as essential to a nascent Renaissance corporeality predicated upon laying the body bare to new aesthetic and ethical categories. Working from the first book of tailoring patterns, Juan de Alcega’s Libro de Geometria, Práctica y Traça (1580), the excesses of measurement and misfitting to which the Renaissance body was made subject are gauged, as are the epistemological implications of the body’s transformation into the abstract terms of surface geometry. 

Noam Andrews is a historian whose interests lie in early modern history of science and its intersection with visual and material culture. He has received fellowships from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Villa I Tatti – Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and curated exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum, Harvard University, and Ghent University (including "Dürer © Selections from The Sunaert Collection," Vandenhove Centre for Architecture and Art, on view May 10 - June 22, 2019). Noam received his AM and PhD in History from Science from Harvard University and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Art, Music, and Theater Studies at Ghent University, pursuing a multiyear research project entitled "Made to Measure: Constructions of the Body in Early Modern Europe," sponsored by the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO). 

This is an informal and friendly discussion lasting about 90 minutes, followed by refreshments.

The event is open to participants from any discipline and at any stage of study. To attend, please register by emailing the team ( The readings will be circulated in advance, once registered. We encourage anyone to bring materials, images, anecdotes, and ideas for discussion. There is no deadline to register but attendance will be guaranteed on a first-come first-served basis.

Image: Juan de Alcega’s Libro de Geometria, Práctica y Traça (1580)