Refashioning the Renaissance Database

Popular Groups and the Material and Cultural Significance of Clothing in Europe 1550–1650


Welcome to the Refashioning the Renaissance database.

Created by the ERC-funded Refashioning the Renaissance project, this database holds the largest collection of inventories gathered from artisanal groups in early modern Europe, focusing on Italy (Florence, Siena, and Venice) and Denmark (Elsinore) from 1550-1650. Over the course of the project (2017-2022), over 700 inventories were collected and transcribed, generating a total of 92,000 entries, all of which are accessible in the Refashioning the Renaissance database. Dress, textiles, arms, jewellery, trimmings, and fashion accessories are some of the many items recorded. In the category of clothing, for instance, the data comprises an extensive array of garments, including (but certainly not limited to) aprons, bodices, cassocks, petticoats, shirts, sleeves, cloaks, breeches, jerkins, and stockings.

All of the objects featured in the database originate from inventories taken from owners who held a wide variety of lower to middle class professions. Even within these more defined parameters, inventory owners possessed vastly different socio-economic statuses. Some examples of the diverse sets of professions include bakers, barbers, carpenters, cobblers, delicatessen operators, fishmongers, innkeepers, painters, porters, sausage makers, smiths, spinners, tailors, and weavers. In order to maintain the project’s focus on the clothing and accessories of the popular classes, all inventories connected to owners who held more elite professions, such as goldsmiths, notaries, and cloth merchants, were excluded from the sample.

The inventories were sourced from the volumes of the Curia del Placito (Archivio di Stato di Siena), the Giudice di Petizion (Archivio di Stato di Venezia), the Cancelleria Inferiore Miscellaneo (Archivio di Stato di Venezia), and the Giudici dell’Esaminador (Archivio di Stato di Venezia), the Magistrato dei Pupilli (Archivio di Stato di Firenze), and the Skifteprotokoller 1571-1650 (National Archives in Denmark). All documents were collected, photographed, and transcribed by our Refashioning archival team, most notably by research fellow Stefania Montemezzo, Principal Investigator Paula Hohti, PhD student Anne-Kristine Sinvald Larsen, and our research assistants Mattia Viale and Umberto Signori.

Refashioning the Renaissance: Popular Groups and the Material and Cultural Significance of Clothing in Europe 1550–1650 was a five-year research project led by Paula Hohti, a professor of Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture. In 2016, Prof. Hohti was awarded a two-million-euro European Research Council consolidator grant to examine documentary, visual, and material evidence to explore the historical significance of fashion, along with changing cultural attitudes, popular taste, and the dissemination, transformation, and adaptation of early modern dress.

To find out more about the project please visit out website.