The article investigates lay dress shown in panel paintings from Little Poland from the 15th and the first half of the 16th c. The source basis is the collection of preserved and well-described Gothic panel paintings. The article is an attempt to present and classify the forms of lay dress characteristic of the region in question in the mediaeval and renaissance period, and to confront the rich costume terminology known from written sources with iconographic material. The analysis has revealed forms of dress unique to the region as well as garments creatively derived from Western models. Women's dresses worn in Little Poland usually concealed the figure, unlike in the West, where the shape of the female body was emphasised. Low-cut bodices or accentuated waistlines and hips, fashionable in the West, were rather rare here. The analysis has distinguished 9 types of dresses, differing in trimming details, all of which remained fashionable for a very long time. There are few cases of the surcot model; also the 'houppelande' is represented very rarely. Women's dresses shown in paintings from Little Poland are solemn and stately; we do not find here the extravagant cuts worn in the West, especially at the Burgundy court. Only in the 16th c. the Little Poland fashion, following German trends, accepted a low neckline, showing the beautiful textile of the chemise. The prevailing tendency in men's fashion was the popularity of voluminous overcoats, including the 'szuba', often shown in portraits of rulers and dignitaries. 'Szubas' can also be found in paintings showing women and children, which points to the universal character of this overcoat, whose quality and style depended on the textile used, and to some extent on some details of cut. In addition to this long ceremonial overcoat, there is a group of sixteenth-century examples of an interesting closer-fitting garment (perhaps the 'giermak') fastened with characteristic large ornamental buttons and loops. The paintings also bring examples of knee-length overcoats with sleeves of various shapes, in which other details of cut are sometimes not clearly recognizable. Considering their overcoat function, however, those garments can be classified as corresponding to the robes type known from Western paintings. In Little Poland paintings we do not find many examples of clothes closely copying the robes or the robes-'houppelandes' type. The male figure,was shaped with some conservatism, without the extravagancies popular in Western court fashion. The analysis has also disclosed two interesting cases of representing Eastern-patterned textiles with the 'czintamani' motif. Such textiles are shown in Madonna's coats in the paintings from Wolowiec and Stary Sacz (c. 1445). The 'czintamani' motif was one of the most common ones in Eastern textiles; the earliest examples preserved come from the 15th c. Comparing the figures of saints and their lay adorers reveals that the clothes worn by the latter are usually quite similar in cut to the attire in which artists depicted the former. Garments made of valuable velvet brocades, which were among the most expensive textiles on the market, signalled the dignity and affluence of their wearers. In our material they appear mostly in the attire of female saints, kings and dignitaries, symbolically highlighting the high status of the depicted personages. (23 fig.)
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.