What do we wear after we die? Do we need clothing in the afterlife? If we do have clothing will these clothes bear any relationship to those which we own and wear in this life? Can clothing move between the mortal and immortal worlds? What messages does clothing convey about heaven or hell? These questions may appear trivial, simplistic or just superficial when placed against debates about identity and the resurrection of the body. Yet for those struggling to understand and explain the relationship between the mortal and immortal worlds, dress and bodily adornment represented a means through which reward and punishment after death could be earned, as well as illustrated and explored, something which is testified to in numerous textual and visual sources.
Through a series of case studies of Italian art from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century Dressing for Heaven explore the relationship of clothing to salvation. -- .
Cordelia Warr is Lecturer in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester