One doesn’t have to be a fashionista to understand that clothing is important. It can be an expression of individuality, but it is also a shared culture and a means by which people relate, according to Timothy McCall, PhD, associate professor of Art History in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. McCall focuses much of his research on the material culture of fashion and recently received the J. Clawson Mills Fellowship from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the 2017-2018 academic year.
The $52,000 fellowship supports Dr. McCall’s latest research project, “Matters of Renaissance Fashion,” focusing on the materiality—textiles, fabrics and dyes—of Italian Renaissance clothing and its relationship to art. While art production and clothing production have typically been separate areas of study, the two have a lot in common, according to Dr. McCall, who says he is thrilled by this opportunity to work with curators, scientists and conservators in one of the most prominent art museums in the United States.
In addition to the products and procurement of Renaissance clothing, Dr. McCall is interested in how this relates to power and culture.
“If a king didn’t dress like a king, he wouldn’t rule long,” said Dr. McCall “These are things we understand, and the more we look historically, the more we can understand our own assumptions about clothing.”
In addition to the Met fellowship, Dr. McCall received two travel grants to support his project: the Venetian Research Program Grant from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society.
Dr. McCall's co-edited volume Visual Cultures of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe was published in 2013, and his articles and essays have appeared in venues including I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, Renaissance Studies, and The Brooklyn Rail. McCall has presented research on Renaissance bodies, beauty, masculinity, and fashion in conferences and at universities across the globe. His forthcoming book Brilliant Bodies investigates the fashion and adornment of Renaissance men.
In addition to teaching in the History Department, Dr. McCall teaches in Villanova’s Gender and Women's Studies program and served as its Director of Programming from 2015-2017. His areas of teaching include Gender, Sexuality, and Visual Culture; Medieval Art; Early Renaissance Art in Italy; High Renaissance and Mannerist Art in Italy and Art and Chivalry in the Courts of Renaissance Italy.
About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world. With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.