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05 July 2013 @ 03:43 pm
the things you find when you look up "renaissance skulls"*  
Skeletons Show Rickets Struck the Medici Family
http://www.nature.com/news/skeletons-show-rickets-struck-the-medici-family-1.13156


*No, that's not weird, I promise! It's just that so far, all the things I've read about skulls in Renaissance tragedy seem to be startlingly uncurious about where these skulls actually came from. This bothers me at intervals.
 
 
 
melancholy in the rainliseuse on July 7th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
I wonder that! Like, is there just a dressing up box with a handy skull in it? Or does Creepy Uncle Roderigo have an illicit connection to the surgeons company?
tempestsarekind: where is my romeotempestsarekind on July 7th, 2013 09:53 pm (UTC)
Exactly! And in all those "man with skull" portraits - did the painter supply the skull? If so, where did he get one? Did people wonder if it was stolen from somewhere? So many questions, and the literature has not provided me with any answers.
melancholy in the rainliseuse on July 8th, 2013 10:04 am (UTC)
Perhaps in the revenge tragedies you could construct an argument about the skull being a (literal, heh!) memento mori of someone who has already been killed and then it would assume even more of a creepy and disturbing nature. But I have no idea for the plays where someone is ostensibly killing someone for the first time. I'm editing a bit of a chapter about The Patient Man 1 at the moment and for love nor money can I work out where Hippolito got his skull. I mean, it's all part of his "melancholy scholar" decorating scheme, but ... how did he get it?
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on July 8th, 2013 04:17 pm (UTC)
Yes - no one seems to remark on someone's having a skull in his possession, which is frustrating! At the beginning of "Upon a Dead Man's Head," John Skelton comments that he's writing the poem about a skull that a friend sent him, which boggles the mind a bit. So...someone just sent him a skull, and he doesn't seem to find that especially weird, and he doesn't wonder where it came from (or at least, he didn't see fit to put it into the poem).
melancholy in the rainliseuse on July 8th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
That just makes me imagine people unwrapping skulls at Christmas/on birthdays and sort of going "Oh, thanks. It can ... join the ones that Aunt B. sends me every year."
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on July 8th, 2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
Hee! Or maybe there's just one sad skull, constantly being re-gifted because no one wants it...