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The Metamorphoses of FatA History of Obesity$
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Georges Vigarello

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159760

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159760.001.0001

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The Fifteenth Century and the Contrasts of Slimming

The Fifteenth Century and the Contrasts of Slimming

(p.23) 4. The Fifteenth Century and the Contrasts of Slimming
The Metamorphoses of Fat

Georges Vigarello

, C. Jon Delogu
Columbia University Press

By the end of the medieval period, illuminated manuscripts and frescoes provided access to images with identifiable sizes for the first time, bringing about a slow but explicit attention to contours, including attempts to specify and stigmatize excess. This chapter discusses how this theme took on importance in the fifteenth century. Fat people who were now present in iconography for the first time gave rise to a new way of looking at them. A number of scenes placed figures here or there in a manner that drew attention to contours. With these new techniques of display, the body’s volumes existed differently, revealing “defects” and suggesting excess. There were, however, points of resistance. The force intuitively linked to quantities of food as well as the link between ascendancy and physical weight did not yield immediately to vigorous sermons and medical advice.

Keywords:   fat, fat people, bigness, fifteenth century, size, contours, manuscripts, frescoes

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