Painted Faces on the Renaissance Stage

Painted Faces on the Renaissance Stage

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qThis is the first book to show how the painted face functioned as theatrical signal in Renaissance drama. Explaining the connection between red, white, and black makeup and sexual sin, devilish seduction, and poison, Annette Drew-Bear surveys how Renaissance dramatists used face-paint in tragedy to express a wide range of social, political, and sexual corruption. She also shows that in Renaissance comedy, playwrights exploited the many bawdy meanings of fucus, or cosmetic paint, to dramatize that qtheres knauery in dawbing.qq qDrew-Bear argues that both on the stage and in society, the painted face was seen in moral terms. To understand the significance of face-painting in Shakespeare and other Renaissance dramatists, modern readers need to recover the convention of seeing a painted face as revealing an internal moral state. Demonstrating that stage face-painting conventions grew out of moral treatises, sermons, and social custom, Drew-Bear traces the origin of symbolic patterns of facial adornment and deformity in Medieval and Tudor drama. She shows how Ben Jonson developed his own satiric version of the cosmetic or fucus scene in six of his plays to dramatize the hypocrisy of both men and women. Shakespeare used red, white, and black painted faces in typically more complex and richly ironic ways than his contemporaries.q qThe strength of this book is its abundance of fresh, new, authoritative evidence of face-painting that conclusively establishes how widespread and how richly significant the painted face was on the Renaissance stage. This work should be valuable to anyone interested in the evidence of linking players and face-paint and in the use of face-paint as theatrical signal in Medieval, Tudor, and Renaissance drama. Anyone curious about cosmetics and attitudes toward cosmetics will enjoy reading about the ingredients of the makeup worn by both women and men in the Renaissance to achieve the fashionable white face, rosy cheeks, and light hair. Equally intriguing are the effects of sometimes poisonous ingredients like lead, mercury, and vitriol.q qSupporting the text are six illustrations of face-painting that include a woodcut of the devil applying cosmetics, a painted Elizabethan lady, a made-up Elizabeth I, and Satan disguised as a fair-faced, buxom, blond lady. The first book-length study of its kind, Painted Faces on the Renaissance Stage should be of interest to all students of drama, theater history, and social custom in the age of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.q--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights ReservedThe Moral Significance of Face-painting Conventions Annette Drew-Bear ... As in Cynthiaa#39;s Revels the final discovery is dramatized by a cosmetic unmasking a€” here involving the removal of Epicoenea#39;s ... The stage business in Marie Magdalene a€” Marya#39;s fiddling with her clothes, berating her tailors and maids a€” suggests aanbsp;...

Title:Painted Faces on the Renaissance Stage
Author:Annette Drew-Bear
Publisher:Bucknell University Press - 1994-01-01


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