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Objects, Affects and Effects in Early Modern Culture,1450-1750

This project will engage with the agentive qualities of matter; it will show how affective

dimensions in history connect with material history; and it will explore the religious

and cultural identities dimensions of the use of objects and materials.


A fragile animal material, feathers in dress are thereby easily forgotten. The spectacular sixteenth-century rise of feathers as dress accessories stood out for its sensuous appeal through lightness, softness and either stunning natural colour or its ability to easily absorb dye.

In 1500, few men and women except mercenary soldiers would ever have worn feathers. One hundred years later, feathers had become indispensable to achieve the “gallant” look.



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Thanks to its ability to take on multiple forms and reveal its artifice and potential in both solid and liquid states gold is an ‘entangled’ matter that, in the early modern period, was combined with a whole range of objects, artefacts and materials.



Omnipresent and ephemeral at the same time, veils and veiling lay at the intersection of various cultural and societal tensions affecting moral concerns. They are an ideal research object through which to inquire about codes of social and moral distinctions. Moreover, veils assume an important place in the period’s artistic production.

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