More Medieval Make-Up

Tangent du Jour: From nail-varnish to lipstick, Medievalism is very much dans le vent.

Here is a much-sought-after freshly-launched item that can only be described as 100% Work Appropriate: Lipstick Queen’s MEDIEVAL: “going back to Medieval times, when full coverage lipstick was considered a sin. Instead, women used lemons to stimulate the lips and stain them a see through blood red.” (The page itself is worth going to – and make sure Java’s enabled – for its rather delightful roll-over image, “intentionally upside down to represent how topsy turvy the world has become.”)

For students keen to make the right impression: SAINTS: “When I think of Saints I think of them as light, airy and floating above, beyond and around us. […] Absolutely no glitter (Saints are far too humble for such audacity). Soul and style in one little stick.”

Err … for neither … SINNERS: ” […] a decadent and reckless amount of pigment […] positively naughty […] Lipstick that makes you look so good you can go ahead and be bad!”

See also: Trotula de Ruggiero (a.k.a. Trotula of Salerno), De Ornatu Mulierum (c/o Wikipedia; Colin’s Beauty Pages: the science behind beauty and attraction; whence image sourced). 11th-12th c. physician at the  Salerno medical school. Some texts on women’s health are attributed to her, principally Diseases of WomenTreatments for Women, and Women’s Cosmetics. This latter being of interest to us as an early treatise on make-up (of which there are, of course, Classical and Arabic antecedents; and the Cosmetics shows heavy Arab influence, resonances, and/or infusion). The first and third of these texts circulate independently and anonymously, before the three undergo compilation in the late 13th c. and the collection becomes known as the Trotula. As sort of might be expected there is little to no evidence for the authorial attribution; it is tempting to see Marie de France parallels, but alas all too common a phenomenon, all too often for similar reasons.

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