In an aim to shed light on iconic artists and movements, Neighbourhood’s Hoodstory series highlights their continued relevance and inspiration upon contemporary culture, modern media and fashion. First up, is the art of Renaissance.
The Renaissance movement was a period between the fourteenth and seventeenth century within Europe. It was an era of dramatic change; bridging the gap between the middle ages and the modern times. In fact, the meaning of renaissance translates to rebirth, evidencing the extreme amount of development throughout the time.
Beginning in the Italian city of Florence, the movement quickly spread around Europe and to England. Advances started from Mathematics and Science to Architecture, Politics and Music. Nonetheless, the strongest influence was evident through Art and Literature. Botecelli, Michaelangelo and Shakespeare were just some of the recognisable names making waves throughout the era.
So, are the advancements of the Renaissance still relevant in contemporary society?
The Birth of Venus is undoubtedly one of the most important works of the Renaissance, and Venus herself is still a key figure and muse.
In Dolce and Gabanna’s spring/summer 93 collection, Venus was collaged upon a dress. The reference was anchored by the draping of pearls styled upon the model. Ten years later, it was worn by Lady Gaga upon the release of her Artpop studio album.
David LaChapelle returned to some of his original inspiration of the history of art in 2016. First, he produced an iconic response to Botticelli’s Venus and Mars (1485). Naomi Campbell poses as Venus, the Goddess of Love. Where her male counterpart Mars, God of War sleeps before her.
“Mars, god of war, is sleeping on all his spoils, while Venus, goddess of love, is looking unsatisfied. Things haven’t changed much, I thought. Greed and war versus love and beauty.” – Lachapelle
Moreover, LaChapelle spontaneously shot his take on the Birth of Venus in Miami. Titled ‘The Rebirth of Venus’ the image is powerful and eye-catching. Exploring the female form in contemporary society, the colours are punching and modern. Both Lachapelle’s work and the Dolce & Gabbana dress were shown in the Botecelli Reimagined exhibition at the V&A London in 2016.
Spring/summer 18 was no exception when it came to the Renaissance providing inspiration for some of the biggest names around. Gucci’s Resort 18 Collection was not only shown in the birthplace of this great revival, Florence, Italy. The models actually swanned down the runway of the Palatine Gallery in the Palazzo Pitti, where the guests had the pleasure of viewing a Botecelli on their way in.
The capes and fur channel the period of such dramatic cultural and economic change. We could definitely see the elite of the times buying into the Gucci style.
Valentino’s spring 2018 couture show appeared to also not shy away from the Renaissance reference. With large extravagant feather filled hats and high bold necklines the brand mirrored some of the recognisable ladies of the times.
Large hats were typically associated with the elite, the bigger the hat, the more powerful you were. This was enforced by the Sumptuary Laws of the times where certain materials, colours and garments were restricted. Only to be worn by the bourgeoise.
Nevertheless this doesn’t mean that the Renaissance is only an influence to the big names in fashion. One of Neighbourhood’s favourite up and coming brands P.A.M, distort Renaissance images across its garments to create a psychedelic perspective.
Moreover the oversized sleeves of the era were spotted in Edward Crutchley’s spring/summer 18 Collection at London Collections Men. Once a signifier of status and wealth, now a streetwear bomber jacket classic.
The Renaissance has also made its journey to the most contemporary form of media, social. Artist Ege Islekel of Milan, Italy uses photo manipulation and collage to create his humorous digital art. Referencing social media, fashion and contemporary culture he pushes Venus, amongst other figures and artists from history into modern times.
Venus, Mona Lisa and The Girl with the Pearl Earring are positioned within YouTube frames, appearing to be giving Makeup tutorials, a common fad of the current millennial generation.
Islekel doesn’t just stop at those three iconic females but presents The Last Supper as a charging point. Replacing the recognisable low battery, saving mode as ‘blessed mode’. And advertises the famous room of Van Gogh up for rent.
If you like the classic and the cool head over to @egislekel to see more of his twenty-first century take on the history of art.