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On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque High Heels

Start Date November 2009
End Date 20 September 2010
Venue Bata Shoe Museum
Location Toronto, Canada


TORONTO , Oct. 14 /CNW/ – The Bata Shoe Museum will offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to see exceptionally rare examples of Renaissance and Baroque footwear. On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels will focus on two of the most extreme forms of footwear ever worn in Western fashion, the outrageous platform chopine and its eventual replacement, the high heel.

The primary focus of the exhibition is the Italian chopine which was a highly provocative and gendered item of fashion favored by both courtesans and upper-class women in the 15th and 16th centuries. The wearing of platform footwear dates back to antiquity but it was in 16th century Venice that the chopine reached its ascendancy and became central to the proclamation of status and wealth through female dress. Some of the Venetian chopines on view soar up to 50 cm in height.

The exhibition will also explore the introduction of the heel into Western dress at the end of the 16th century. The adoption of the heel from the Near East marked an historic and enduring transformation of Western footwear that continues to have relevance today. The earliest heels were worn by upper-class men as well as women and the exhibition will include extraordinary examples of 17th century heels. This exhibition will bring together for the first time treasured artefacts from numerous renowned International museums including: Victoria and Albert Museum, London ; Museo Bardini, Florence; Castello Sforzesco, Milan ; Livrustkammaren and Skoklosters Slott, both Stockholm ; Museo Palazzo Mocenigo and Museo Correr, both Venice ; Ambras Castle, Austria ; Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto as well as shoes for the Bata Shoe Museum.

A full-color catalogue, exciting lecture series, along with a wide variety of other programming activities is currently being developed in support of this exhibition. On a Pedestal will be on view until September 20, 2010 .