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ATTIRE: KINDS OF ATTIRE AND TRADITIONAL COSTUME
FROM THE 16th TO THE 19th CENTURIES

“SANTANDER” J. HOEFNAGEL - G. BRAUN - F. HOGENBERG (COLONIA, 1572)

From the second half of the 16th century onwards, the production of books about costume achieves great popularity all over Europe. The particular feature about the illustrations that are mentioned below is that they are similar, in most cases, to a certain area of the Cantabrian coast which included Vizcaya, Santander and part of the East of Asturias. There is an evident interrelation among them, which is reflected on the works that are published during this century.

The work Recueil de la diversité des habits qui sont de présent en usage… by François Deserps (Paris, 1562), was the first printed book about costume. It was reprinted under the title of Omnium fere gentium nostraeq aetatis nationum habitus & effigies by Ioanni Bellero in Amberes in 1572. It contains two woodcuts, “Cantaber” and “Cantabra Mulier”, both of which have a foot-note text in Latin. These images are presented as people from Vizcaya in their first editions. In Omnium fere gentium nostrae aetatis habitus, nunquam ante ac aediti by Ferdinando Bertelli (Venice, 1563), there are two images, “Gentil Homo de Montagna” and “La Vechia de S.Ander”, and other illustrations of people from Cantabria which could have been similar to that part of the Cantabrian coast we mentioned before. Jost Amann and Hans Weigel (Nuremberg, 1577) publish Habitus praecipuorum tam virorum quan foeminarum…, which contain two hundred and nineteen woodcuts, twelve of which represent Spanish inhabitants. Some of them appear under the heading “Piscaiensis”, “Cantabrica”, “Cantaber” or “Cantabra”, which reflects the fact that they are inhabitants of the Cantabrian coast. The work Dei veri ritrati degl’ habiti di tutte le parti del mondo de Bartolomeo Grassi comes out in Rome in 1585; it is probably the sequel to Recueil de costumes étrangers faisant le 3º volume de la collection recueille by J. J. Boissard, which was published in 1581. Grassi´s illustration number 26 represents a group of four women, two out of which are “Spagnuole di Santander”. Pietro Bertelli publishes Diversarum nationum habitus in 1596, in Padua; its illustration number 33 represents a “Cantabra Plebea”.

We should not forget Santander´s view contained in De praecipuis totius universi urbibus. Liber secundus, Civitates Orbis Terrarum by Braun-Hogenberg (Colonia, 1572). In the foreground, we can see a group of three people, a married woman, a shaven maid and a widow with an old-fashioned hairstyle, by the artist Joris Hoefnagel.

But perhaps the most important work included in all the publications of this period is Degli habiti antichio et moderni di diverse parti del mondo by Cesare Vecellio (Venice, 1590), whose first edition is made up of four hundred and twenty woodcut illustrations printed in Damian Zenaro´s studio and etched by Christoforo Guerra. This work is reprinted later on in Venice at Bernardo Sessa´s printing house; a third edition is printed under the title Habiti antichi overo racolta di figure delineate dal gran Titiano e Cesare Vecellio in 1664, in the same city. In the edition published in 1598, we can read “Mulier santandana in Cantabria”, “Cantabriae mulieris habitus” and “Cantabra mulier ignobilis” at the foot of the engravings numbered 262, 264 and 265.

The importance of the work by Vecellio is revealed in the edition carried out by the National Chalcography of Madrid in 1794. It is published in two volumes which contain sketches with eight costumes each. They only include images of Italy and Spain engraved in copper by José Camarón. The first volume Colección de trages que usaron todas las –naciones

conocidas hasta el siglo XVI Diseñados por el Gran Ticiano Vecellio y por César, su hermano. Nuevamente grabados con la mayor exactitud– contains two hundred and twenty seven engravings, all of them of Italians. The second volume –Tomo II de los trajes del Ticiano de todas las naciones conocidas asta el siglo XVI. Aumentadas con varios mui importantes que no trae este autor– presents forty eight images connected with Spain. Engravings 14 and 16 correspond to Cantabrian celebrities.

Vecellio’s work is published again in Paris in 1859 by Ambroise Firmin Didot. It is made up of two volumes under the title Costumes anciens et modernes. Habiti antichi et moderni di tutto il mondo di Cesare Vecellio. Whereas the first volume contains two hundred and thirty four images, the second one has two hundred and seventy nine. The descriptive texts of the illustrations, which were engraved by E. F. Huyot following the drawings by Seguin, Catenacci y Feldman, are written in French and Italian: “Femme de Santander de Biscaye” and “Donna di Santandos di Biscaglia”.

The 17th century in Europe is not prolific in the publication of books about costumes and it is not until the second half of the 18th century that this kind of publication reappears, also in Spain. The illustrations of Cantabrian costume usually have the attire used by the inhabitants of La Vega de Pas as reference. The image of a pañero or a pasiega carrying a large basket is common to almost all the 18th and 19th century engravings of the collection, and that is how the drawings of the Cantabrian mountain dwellers are depicted by Spanish and foreign artists that carried out the illustrations.

From the moment Colección de trages de España by Juan de la Cruz Cano y Olmedilla (Madrid, 1777) was published, most of the later illustrations have the figure of a pasiego in common. This figure may suffer different modifications depending on the artist. Although illustration number 8 in Colección de trages de España depicts a “Pasiega” or “Paysanne des montagnes de Burgos”, the reference to Burgos does not appear in later publications, being substituted by Santander instead.

Editor Devere publishes the complete work by Juan de la Cruz in a ficticious edition in Paris, in 1786. From that moment on, other books about costume start to come out successively; their illustrations are sometimes signed by highly reputed artists of the time like Rodríguez-Martí-Vázquez (Madrid, 1801); Chasselat-Coüt (Paris); Havell (London, ca. 1829); White-Pigal-Langlumé (Paris, 1825); Ribelles y Helip-Carrafa (Madrid, 1836); Alenza-Castilla (Madrid, 1839); Sinuett (Paris, ca. 1840); Blanchard-Dollet (Paris, 1842); Madrazo-Ortega (Madrid, 1844); Severini (Madrid, 1851); Ortega-Cibera (Madrid, 1851); or Saumell (Barcelona, 1891), amongst others.

A letter written by José María de Pereda is the prologue to the album La Montaña, and was published by the printing house Sucesores de Rivadeneyra in Madrid in 1889. It contains thirty two drawings by Victoriano Polanco and Fernando Pérez del Camino, which were lithographed by Enrique Laporta Valor. Pereda talks about “country and coast images, priests, educators, Motilon Indians and naive people… the spiciest of the tierruca…”. Polanco has been the best in reflecting these country dwellers and people from the coast so accurately and with so much talent. The content of this work is the best reference for what we understand nowadays about popular and traditional Cantabrian people.