Renaissance vs. Medieval: One of these things is not like the other…



Consider me your friendly tour guide for this wandering about in history business.

First off,
let us consider dates.

The Renaissance period lasted from the very tail end of the 15th century
(starting, really, with Gutenberg’s printing press in 1452),
and ending just before the 17th.

The Medieval period is considerably longer,
lasting from the 5th century to the 15th.
This time is also called “The Middle Ages”.

remembering dates is a pain in the ass,
so allow me to give a visual representation:



Two-Dimensional. Predominantly religious subject matter. Loose clothes.



Three-Dimensional. Secular subject. Fitted bodice.


Or look at it another way:
Is your art predominantly two-dimensional, simplistic,
and usually focused on religious subjects?

Monks doing monkish things.



You’re in the Middle Ages!

Are your clothes fairly shapeless, with perhaps an outer tunic for style?


Kinda jealous--these look waaay more comfortable than jeans.

Also Middle Ages!

Who’s ruling your country?
If the answer is, “Why, Queen Elizabeth I!”
Guess what?
You’re in the Renaissance!


Ah, Elizabeth I, CEO...

(she shaved her hairline to get that whole billiard-ball-forehead thing. crazy, nu?)


Are you wearing a device that pushes your boobs up around your eyeballs?


Yes. I used myself as an example. Annnnd?
(I look sad because I don't have beer. shutup.)


Perhaps it’s not *totally* accurate (historical costumers fight…GO!),
but still Renaissance!

(Very well…See below for a period sketch of a noble/upperclass woman in a
similarly boobifying contraption)

Notice the conical shape? That's pure Elizabethean, right there.


Are you a Crusader?



Is Shakespeare alive?



Are you quoting Lewis Carroll and wandering about in brass goggles?



Can’t help you there, mate.

But you look cool.



Seriously, right? The top hat kinda makes me swoon.

photo credit


(ladies in “princess” hats sprouting bits of tulle? just…no.)


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brenda
    May 21, 2010 @ 22:46:43

    I *so* want to go to a faire in as-accurate-as-possible Renaissance clothing (and I did sort of know the difference already, but now I officially do thanks to this post). It is definitely going on my NEXT 101 Things list, which will start … um … hang on … calculator … no, date calculating website … looks like June 17, 2012, if I don’t take a 24-hour break between the current project and the next one.

    I promise not to wear a pseudo-princess hat. I already have the unfortunate domed forehead (thanks for the genes, Grandma). And since I come pre-equipped with the rack, I shudder to think what the Elizabethan Girdle of Death does … I probably won’t be able to see where I’m going.


  2. L
    May 24, 2010 @ 18:37:31

    Okay, so what about horned helmet and foxtails on your cape?


  3. notitiae
    Oct 06, 2010 @ 14:16:26

    Wondeer!! Thank for the post and you nice blog. I hope to
    link a good news by Vaite in reanaissance and expecially medieval on
    II mediueval period. It’s in Italian words and video about his history in
    Italy . Goog vision Jacopo Here is the link:


  4. Crazyhistorygirl
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 16:44:43

    I’m crazy about the history of fashion, so I once went to a renaissance fair in a 5th-7th century style Anglo Saxon dress to see if anyone would comment…lol nope!
    Also, the time the renaissance started depends on the location. The Italian renaissance started in the late 14th century, and it spread pretty slowly (it didn’t reach England until around 1500). That’s why Northern European gowns during most of the 15th century were loose-skirted and had the v-neck over the square neck, whereas Italian 15th century dresses were quite varied.


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