The Underdress Only Theory

The underdress only theory is that between the smock/chemise and the Burgundian gown is an underdress. I’ll call it a Kirtle, some people call it a gothic fitted dress. Back in the day this was known as an underdress theory as there was debate on if there was a dress worn under the Burgundian gown or if it was just a placket directly over the chemise. These days it is generally agreed that a lady would not wear the gown directly over her chemise so the theory focuses more on what ELSE was worn under the Burgundian gown.

Support for the Chemiseà Kirtle à Gown theory can be seen in any painting that shows the undergown’s hem being the same colour as the v of fabric showing under the neckline of the gown.

1450s and c. 1480, UNKNOWN MASTER, Flemish, Last Judgment and the Wise and Foolish Virgins, Staatliche Museen, Berlin detail2

1450s and c. 1480, UNKNOWN MASTER, Flemish, Last Judgment and the Wise and Foolish Virgins, Staatliche Museen, Berlin (detail) Here you can see the the gown is worn over a red kirtle.

 

1480, Saint Catherine Converting the Scholars, Flanders

1480, Saint Catherine Converting the Scholars, Flanders. Here you can see the gown worn over a red kirtle.

 

1491, MEMLING, Hans, Passion (Greverade) Altarpiece (detail), Museum für Kunst- und Kulturgedichte, Lübeck

1491, MEMLING, Hans, Passion (Greverade) Altarpiece (detail), Museum für Kunst- und Kulturgedichte, Lübeck. A Flat fronted kirtle would give the smooth look seen of the fabric filling in the V of the gown

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One thought on “The Underdress Only Theory

  1. Pingback: Towards a Burgundian Gown- Research and Theories | Cathelina di Alessandri

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