The Middle Ages in Europe is an era when church canons directly affect not only state affairs, but also family life, personal life, and even fashion. The Catholic Church declared all bodily things to be sinful, and, therefore, shameful, which should be properly hidden and hidden from prying eyes. Spirituality was henceforth equal to incorporeal and complete asceticism. Women's breasts, as a symbol of temptations and vices, should be carefully hidden. And the smaller it was, the better.
In the 12th century Italian work, Comedy of Three Girls, there are words that clearly characterize the tastes and demands of the Middle Ages:
“Girls often swaddle their breasts with a bandage, For for the eyes of men, full breasts are not cute. But the maiden who appeared before me did not need bandages - Her breasts were small in its modest fullness."
As is clear from these lines, even those who were naturally curvy, did everything possible to prevent the breasts from growing to their normal size. Bandaging the upper torso is not all the barbaric rituals that a woman should have performed.
The dress itself was designed in such a way that the bodice was fastened tightly and was very tight, tightly fitting to the body. Later, a special corset appeared - a tightly laced bodice, which does not allow the glandular tissue to form normally.
Any public portrayal of a woman's breast was recognized as wild and sinful. Only disgusting witches could be portrayed this way. Their breasts were saggy, repulsive. If you turn to the images of the Mother of God and the infant Christ of the Middle Ages, you can see that in those rare paintings where her breasts are naked, there is only a hint of the mammary gland.
Here is an excerpt from the novel "The Name of the Rose", written by the Italian scholar and specialist in medieval aesthetics, Umberto Eco:
“He pointed to the small breasts of the Ever-Virgin, high and tightly tightened with a bodice, the strings of which played the hands of the Baby:“Do you see? The same nipples are pretty, that they do not stick out much, are full, moderately elastic, but do not sway boldly, but rise barely, uplifted, but not squeezed."
And even in the works of Petrarch you can find the "fashion trends" of the Middle Ages: "They should be small, white, round, like apples, resilient."
In addition to bodices and bandages, even more barbaric methods were used to reduce the size of the mammary gland. They were especially common in Spain, which for a long time, up to the middle of the 17th century, was under the strongest influence of the Catholic Church. Here, very little girls, in order to stop the growth of their breasts, were placed on their breasts with heavy lead plates. The neck should have been hidden behind a huge multi-layered collar.
True, in other countries, from the beginning to the middle of the 15th century, the Renaissance era begins, and the chest, as a symbol of the Renaissance, life, everything living and natural, begins to rapidly reveal itself.