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A Spasmodic Pictorial History of the Codpiece

Michael Glover



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David Zwirner
01 February 2020
History of art & design styles: c 1400 to c 1600; Painting & paintings; Industrial: Commercial Art & Design; History of fashion; Social & cultural history; Fashion & society
Series: Ekphrasis
A laugh-out-loud visual history of the strangest piece of men's clothing ever created: the codpiece. The codpiece was fashioned in the Middle Ages to close a revealing gap between two separate pieces of men's tights. By the sixteenth century, it had become an upscale must-have accessory. This light-hearted, illustrated examination of its history pulls in writers from Rabelais to Shakespeare and figures from Henry VIII to Alice Cooper. Glover's witty and entertaining prose reveals how male vanity turned a piece of cloth into a bulging and absurd representation of masculinity itself. The codpiece, painted again and again by masters such as Titian, Holbein, Giorgione, and Bruegel, became a symbol of royalty, debauchery, virility, and religious seriousness-all in one. Never has a piece of clothing revealed so much about men only by hiding their private parts. Glover's book moves from paintings to contemporary culture and back again as it charts the growing popularity of the codpiece and its eventual decline. The first history of its kind, this book is a must-read for art historians, anthropologists, fashion aficionados, and readers looking for a good, long laugh. Centuries of male self-importance and delusion are on display in this highly enjoyably new title.
By:   Michael Glover
Imprint:   David Zwirner
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 178mm,  Width: 108mm, 
Weight:   80g
ISBN:   9781644230244
ISBN 10:   1644230240
Series:   Ekphrasis
Pages:   94
Publication Date:   01 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Michael Glover is a Sheffield-born, Cambridge-educated, London-based poet and art critic, and poetry editor of the Tablet. He has written regularly for the Independent, The Times, the Financial Times, the New Statesman, and The Economist. He has also been a London correspondent for ARTNews. His latest books include Late Days (2018), Hypothetical May Morning (2018), Neo Rauch (2019), The Book of Extremities (2019), and Great Works: Encounters with Art (2016).

Reviews for Thrust: A Spasmodic Pictorial History of the Codpiece

...a hilarious and erudite book --Guy Trevay The New York Times hard to resist --Staff The Tablet From coy to curly-wurly, for a brief moment the codpiece was inescapable, in life and in art... --Staff The Daily Telegraph [The codpiece] had a big year: it is the subject of a slim new treatise, the color of artisanal gatorade... --Rachel Tashjian GQ [Michael Glover] takes us on a marvellous journey through portraits - including works by Titian, Holbein and Parmigianino - in which the codpiece is a protagonist. --Ben Luke The Art Newspaper

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