Pretty Ugly: Early Modern Beauty, 1400-1800

Pretty Ugly: Early Modern Beauty, 1400-1800


10 January - 11 January    
10:00 am - 5:00 pm


Wellcome Collection
183 Euston Road, London

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This international conference will explore human beauty from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. It will combine the disciplines of art history, the history of ideas and aesthetics, social history and the history of medicine to interrogate the topic of physical beauty and the human body. Beauty in the early modern period was inextricably linked to both health and ethics. External beauty reflected internal wellbeing and good taste in appearances was an index of moral rectitude. Ugliness and deformity were often associated with illness and bad character. This conference will take an interdisciplinary approach to the topic of beauty, attending to the aesthetic, social, political and medical ramifications of human physical attractiveness.

Speakers include Naomi Baker, Lisa Cody, Erin Griffey, Kim Phillips, Lisa Smith, Edith Snook and Merry Wiesner-Hanks and Paola Zamperini.

We invite proposals from PG students and ECRs for 3-minute lightning talks. Please send a 100-word abstract, indicating if you are proposing a lightning talk, a poster or both, to by 31 October 2018.


£55 employed/ £35 unwaged and student