Was there an Italian Renaissance? Whose was it?


First published in: Unmapping the Renaissance, ed. Angelika Stepken, Eva-Maria Troelenberg, Mariechen Danz,  Verlag für Moderne Kunst, Nürnberg 2015.

In June of 2011, Lady Gaga stepped out of her car with the help of her handlers wearing Venetian style zoccoli. She seemed to be re-living an illustration from Cesare Vercellio. This is not the first time Lady Gaga channeled the Italian Renaissance. In the Fall of 2013, she left a London hotel wearing a vintage (1993) Dolce & Gabbana dress imprinted with the image of Botticelli’s Venus. Her blond hair flowed forth like Venus herself. Botticelli’s Venus is easily considered one of the great masterpieces of the Renaissance; celebrated, canonized, and commercialized. This is certainly the case in a Reebok sneakers advertisement from 2008, where Zephyr aided by Aura (the gentle breeze) seemed to facilitate the runner with their breath. (D.M.L)

media politics, renaissance, traffic of goods

D. Medina Lasansky

D. Medina Lasansky teaches architectural history at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where her research and teaching focus lies on the intersection of the built environment, politics and popular culture. She has published on topics ranging from the pink plastic lawn flamingo to the Siena Palio. She is the author of The Renaissance. Revised, Expanded, Unexpurgated (Periscope, 2014) and The Renaissance Perfected: Architecture, Spectacle and Tourism in Fascist Italy (Penn State, 2004), editor of Archi. Pop (Bloomsbury, 2014) and co-editor of Architecture and Tourism: Perception, Performance, and Place (Berg, 2004).