The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe

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Visual Arts

The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe

  • 17 May 2012 — 16 Sep 2012
Imported 1560
Imported 1560

The Wallace Collection

Hertford HouseManchester SquareLondon W1U 3BN

UK

http://www.wallacecollection.org/

The evolution of the sword as a razor-sharp fashion statement

This exhibition tells the untold story of this fascinating and little known area of Renaissance art: revealing the fantastically skilled artistry behind the rapier; at once a weapon, fashion item, and rich jewellery object. Discover its key role in the rise of a new and upwardly mobile middle class, sixteenth-century concepts of masculinity and the emergence of the duel of honour.

Summer 2012 represents the perfect opportunity to investigate the historical and social development of the ancient art of sword-fighting. The modern sport of fencing is one of the nine original Olympic sports but is also a piece of a much older story which began with the Renaissance fashion for carrying and fighting with swords in everyday life. A man of means in the sixteenth century went nowhere without his sword, and was always prepared to use it. A beautiful rapier was the Rolex of its day: the proud wearing of it was a statement of its owner’s status and power and an integral part of his costume and fashion.

We invite you to look afresh at an often underappreciated Renaissance art form – a journey of discovery to a time where art, sport and science converged.