intimate

Portrait of a man of the '500 (the work is Il Parmigianino) wearing a flashy “codpiece”

During the '500 spread among men the use of an item of underwear (but not too much) rather special and definitely bold, the codpiece, which we can be considered the ancestor of the modern jockstrap.

It was a sort of strategically padded and patterned inguinal bag, extolling the maximum, highlighting them brazenly, the male attributes; designed in '400 for practical purposes, or to hide what the socks “separate” they left out (you see: http://www.pilloledistoria.it/10701/storia-moderna/moda-maschile-del-400-mutande-a-vista), in the sixteenth century, the codpiece took on a whole new connotation of, the one of symbol of virility.

For this, as we can see from the pictures of the time, it was put on display with pride; for men of power at the time, kings, politicians and aristocrats, the codpiece became a must indispensable, just think Henry VIII, discussed and bizarre King of England, who never failed to show it off without restraint even in official portraits.

Generally, this garment theoretically but intimate underwear had little, well it framed in the wider context of Renaissance men's fashion, of the most affluent in particular, far more eccentric and flashy than medieval, much more sober (Photo gives: saladelcembalo.org).