Early Modern Cosmetic Culture

Farah Karim-Cooper

in Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748619931
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652204 | DOI:
Early Modern Cosmetic Culture

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This chapter presents a context for the dramatic appropriation and revaluation of cosmetic signifiers by examining the religious, political and social opposition to cosmetics as well as some of the recipes, which provide a unique history of the materials and technology of beauty. Polemicists argued that face paints, lip colours, wigs, perfumes and other accessories which serve to alter or enhance the external body destroyed divine workmanship. Women of all social backgrounds wore cosmetics in the early modern period. Prostitutes were particularly notorious for their painted faces. Queen Elizabeth I, before Princess Diana, was the most gazed-upon monarch in English history. She did not begin to paint her face until she was established on the throne. It was her youthful appearance that she tried so desperately to maintain, curiously using fabric to puff out her cheeks. The Queen's painted face haunts many dramatic representations of face painting and painted ladies.

Keywords: cosmetics; beauty; Queen Elizabeth I; early modern period; face painting

Chapter.  13803 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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