Made to measure. Constructions of the body in early modern Europe

Start - End 
2018 - 2021 (ongoing)
Department of Art, music and theatre sciences
Research Focus 



The project seeks to expand the histories of early modern art and science by recalibrating the definition and scope of Renaissance mathematical knowledge through the drawings, prints, and treatises that streamed out of the 16th century “mixed,” or applied, mathematical workshops explicitly concerned with the human body and its enclosure in fabric, its posture in space, and its representation on paper. Through a reassessment of the nature and scope of mixed-mathematics, Made to Measure addresses the excesses of measurement and misfitting found in tailoring, fashion, pattern books, stereonomy and other abstractions to which the Renaissance body was made subject. What emerges is a new and broader vision of the body—one tied to techniques of mass production and representation, conceived in the abstract terms of geometrical volumes and surfaces—that is nevertheless not isolated to the early modern period. The implications of reducing the body to geometry continue to inform theoretical and anthropological discourse, from 19th century phrenology to the contemporary view of the body as an ecosystem of micro-globalizations and “time-space-global elements”