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Sarah McBryde

A Visible Difference: Dwarfs in Early Modern Italian Court Culture.

My research project investigates the role of dwarfs in the Renaissance courts of Italy, with particular focus on the Medici and Florence in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries. By analysing both visual and archival material, I aim to develop new perspectives on the position of dwarfs both in public as renowned entertainers and performers, and in private as valued members of personal retinues. My project will explore contemporary attitudes towards dwarfism and medical understanding of the condition, as well as seeking evidence to establish the identity of individuals, in order to revise current perceptions of dwarfs in Renaissance court culture.

Supervisors: Dr Dorigen Caldwell and Professor John Henderson (Department of History, Classics and Archaeology)

Image: Detail from Agnolo Bronzino, Il Nano Morgante c.1553, Galleria degli Uffizi