Tumblr, but with Chicago footnotes.
Jewels I found while studying pre Middle Age art history:
Confused “Why do I have two hands?”
In sixteenth-century visual conventions, furthermore, nipples became ‘another paired element of feminine decore, like earrings or false eyelashes,’ cosmetically reddened to contrast more sharply with the artificially whitened face and breast. Even with such changes in erotic signification, however, the beautiful breast throughout the Renaissance and the baroque period was always ‘delicate and minimal.’ Heavy, sagging breasts, Hollander remarks, ‘are shown to be characteristic of ugly old women and witches.’ Images such as the one wrinkled breast with its long nipple which is bared by Albrecht Dürer’s witchlike allegorization of Avarice, an obvious inversion of the visual trope of the single bared breast of the idealized female figure, imply that having heavy, sagging breasts is shameful. […] Thus, though it was much more visible than the reproductive organs, perhaps because it was more visible, the breast is not protected, semiotically or discursively, from the negative effects attaching to the bodily changes of reproduction. The breast, by virtue of its great ‘sympathy’ with the womb, becomes implicated in the mysterious changes and events that made the womb so threatening and unstable an environment. Like the womb, the breast was thought capable of housing bizarre objects: Culpeper cites the authority of Lemnius for breasts containing ‘hair, stones, and worms.’ Gynecological texts narrate stories of women pissing milk and lactating menstrual blood; they elaborate the conditions, such as immoderate desire, which trouble milk. And Joubert even compares milk to semen, ‘the benign excrement, as the substance of semen is that of members.’ Even nipples are subject to distinctly problematic semiosis. According to Joubert, they were popularly thought to be telltale signifiers of socially critical changes in a woman’s sexual status or age. He denies that they are, but Culpeper confidently reports that nipples are ‘blew in them that give suck; black in old women; and in them that have known Venery, it is natural, and red as a Strawberry.’ Discoloration of the nipples, moreover, is a reliable sign of disorder in the womb. Gail Kern Paster, The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England (via goneril-and-regan)
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