In Fashion. Clothes and Pictures from the Renaissance and Early Baroque

December 3rd, 2015 - March 6th, 2016


The Germanisches Nationalmuseum (GNM) is for the first time presenting its internationally significant collection of clothing of the Early Modern Age in a large-scale special exhibition. Around 50 costumes from the period from 1560 to 1650 are exhibited in the context of contemporary paintings and graphic art works. In addition, the exhibition features rare pieces of everyday clothing from the 16th and 17th centuries, including the finds - on show for the first time - from a tailor's workshop in Bremen, as well as needles, scissors, thimbles and clothes brushes.

Clothes have always played a central role in self-expression and individual identity. The exhibition brings together rare original textiles and representative likenesses from international museums. It shows clothing and fashion in their diverse social contexts and makes them decipherable as part of the material culture as well as in terms of their social and image-specific symbolism. The historical items of clothing permit an up-close view of shapes, materials and styling. The complementing paintings illustrate the original effect of the clothes and the way they were worn, which then, as now, reveals a person's place in society. The exhibition also addresses the question of how reliably the preserved items of clothing bear witnesses to the past, because the originals have rarely survived the centuries unscathed.

The exhibition is supported by international collections, with loans from, for example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna or the Royal Armoury, Stockholm, which owns and has generously lent a doublet dating from 1610 which is preserved as individual tailored pieces and is a unique document of historic tailoring practice.

The pieces, some unique across Europe, are currently being scientifically processed and restored in a research project.

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