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MLA Seminar: Art, Plague, and the Renaissance Imagination

MLA Seminar: Art, Plague, and the Renaissance Imagination

Subject Area
Course Number
ARTH 505 640
Course Code
ARTH505640
Course Key
73372
Day(s)
Thursday
Time
5:15pm-8:15pm
Instructor
Barker, Sheila
Primary Program
Course Description
Throughout Europe’s second pandemic (roughly 1347-1772), images influenced how bubonic plague was experienced, both on a collective scale and within an individual psyche. From illustrated Bibles, to miracle-working images carried in processions, to sophisticated easel paintings representing the plagues of pagan Antiquity, art has contributed as much as sermons, prose, and medical treatises to the understanding of the disease. This course pinpoints art's role in effecting profound changes in the conception of the plague, as well as shifts in the responses that societies deemed reasonable and appropriate. Ultimately, the Renaissance artist managed to do what the physician could not: to inoculate the imagination against the despair, the fear, and the hysteria to which people were subject during the frequent outbreaks that were a fixed element of early modern life. 
Subject Area Vocab