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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

What did it mean to be a man in Baroque Europe? The answer was crucial for men aspiring to success, whether in everyday society or in the rarefied culture of the court. While the concept of manliness was defined by clothing and articulated in conduct books, it was most clearly demonstrated in portraits. Portraits involved not just likenesses but the carefully arranged iconography of clothes and accessories, how they were worn, and their associations. The masculine ideal shifted perpetually from looseness to restraint, from sensitivity to strength, from meditation to sociability. A survey of portraits over a 150-year period reveals how the civil servants of Europe, equipped with their knowledge of fashion and behavior and sustained by the skills of artists, achieved a complex, dignified version of the public masculine self.

Keywords: masculinity, fashion, dress, portrait, gender, clothes, civility

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