Looking beyond the marble elegance of Michelangelo's David, the pugnacious, passionate, and--crucially--important story of Renaissance manhood.
Timothy McCall's book Making the Renaissance Man: Masculinity in the Courts of Renaissance Italy (Reaktion, 2023) explores the images, objects, and experiences that fashioned men and masculinity in the courts of fifteenth-century Italy. Across the peninsula, Italian princes fought each other in fierce battles and spectacular jousts, seduced mistresses, flaunted splendor in lavish rituals of knighting, and demonstrated prowess through the hunt--all ostentatious performances of masculinity and the drive to rule. Hardly frivolous pastimes, these activities were essential displays of privilege and virility; indeed, violence underlay the cultural veneer of the Italian Renaissance. Timothy McCall investigates representations and ideals of manhood in this time and provides a historically grounded and gorgeously illustrated account of how male identity and sexuality proclaimed power during a century crucial to the formation of Early Modern Europe.
Jana Byars is an independent scholar located in Amsterdam.