Textiles, Trade, and Meaning in the Courts of Northern Italy at the time of Isabella d’Este

Isabella D'Este Portrait


Dr Catherine Kovesi
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies


Min Qi Chloe Ho
School of Culture and Communication

Project description

This digital humanities project, sponsored by the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies, seeks to tease out the what, the how, and the why of the clothing, textiles, and accoutrements of the courts of northern Italy during the early modern period. In particular, it focuses on the court of Isabella d’Este (1474-1539), Marchioness of Mantua, and one of the foremost consumers and widely imitated icons of style of the Renaissance. This project is allied to the award-winning digital Isabella d’Este Archive project – produced and co-directed by Deanna Shemek, Anne MacNeil, and Daniela Ferrari in collaboration with Roberta Piccinelli and numerous other scholars.

This project takes one of the most well-known images of Isabella, her portrait by Titian located in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, and transforms it into an interactive image in which a range of scholars unpack each aspect of the clothing seen in this portrait – her fur, her gloves, her distinctive headdress, her sleeves, the dyes and textiles employed in her garments – as well as what we don’t see, namely her undergarments, her shoes, her gloves. Additional links take viewers into more extended essays on other aspects of clothing, textiles and trade at the courts of northern Italy.

Want to get involved with the Digital Studio internship program? We welcome applications from research students to undertake the internship, and from academics and external organisations interested in hosting an internship and supervising an intern.

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