manda Wunder will be coming to speak at the Seminar in Renaissance and Early Modern Material Culture on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. Her talk is entitled “The Spanish Farthingale: Women, Fashion, and Politics in Baroque Spain.”
Amanda Wunder is Assistant Professor of History at Lehman College and Assistant Professor of Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center. She received her BA in History from Wesleyan University and her MA and PhD in History from Princeton University. Prior to her current position, Wunder held professorial and postdoctoral positions at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her publications include the following articles and chapters: “Moda y vistas de Madrid en el siglo XVII,” co-author, Laura R. Bass, in José Luis Colomer and Amalia Descalzo, eds., Vestir a la española en las cortes europeas (siglos XVI y XVII) (Madrid: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2014), pp. 363-384; “Veiled Ladies of the Early Modern Spanish World: Seduction and Scandal in Seville, Madrid, and Lima,” co-author, Laura R. Bass, The Hispanic Review 77, no. 1 (2009): 97-146; “Classical, Christian, and Muslim Remains in Imperial Seville (1520-1635),” Journal of the History of Ideas 64 (2003): 195-212; and “Western Travelers, Eastern Antiquities, and the Image of the Turk in Early Modern Europe,” The Journal of Early Modern History 7 (2003): 89-119. She is currently working on a book-length project, entitled “Baroque Seville: Artistic Collaborations in a Century of Crisis.”
Women’s fashion inspired great political debate during the reign of King Philip IV (1621-65) in Spain, and no garment was more controversial than the farthingale known as the guardainfante. The name “guardainfante” reflects the widespread rumor that women wore this wide-hipped hoopskirt to conceal illicit pregnancies. Despite the ubiquity of the guardainfante in Golden-Age Spanish literature and art—Princess Margarita is wearing one at the center of Velázquez’s Las Meninas—very little is known about the material construction of these farthingales or the historical experiences of the women who wore them. An interdisciplinary methodology combining research in archival, visual, and literary sources uncovers the diverse experiences that women had with the guardainfante and reveals their contributions to the political culture of Baroque Spain as the makers, wearers, defenders, and detractors of this iconic fashion.