Guest Lecturer to Discuss History of the Renaissance Leg

Timothy McCall, associate professor of art history at Villanova University to speak April 13

06 April, 2015 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Timothy McCall, associate professor of art history at Villanova University will present "Towards a History of the Renaissance Leg: 'He's Got Legs, He Knows How to Use Them'" on Monday, April 13, at The College of Wooster. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Room 223 of Ebert Art Center (1220 Beall Ave.), beginning at 5 p.m.

McCall will discuss the Renaissance leg, drawing on primarily visual but also literary evidence from Italy, France, Germany, and England. He argues that distinct and resolutely gendered conventions of display often accounted for the varying ways that particular bodies and body parts were idealized, eroticized, or aestheticized.

"Though desirable and alluring, legs are nearly always associated with women in our society," says McCall. "We will see, perhaps surprisingly, that in previous centuries, the display of slender but also powerful legs was a masculine ideal, one that both drove and was conditioned by cuts of clothing, specifically the pervasiveness of close-fitting stockings. We will explore the cultural emphasis on men's legs (and the representational invisibility of those of women)."

McCall's research centers on art of the Italian Renaissance courts, and, more broadly, on the visual intersections of power and gender. He earned a B.A. in English at Georgetown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of art at the University of Michigan. He has published in such journals as Renaissance Studies and Studies in Iconography, and was recently a fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. He also co-edited Visual Cultures of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe (2013).

The lecture is sponsored by the Departments of Art History, English, and Comparative Literature as well as the Cultural Events Committee. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2575) or e-mail.