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PAINTING DURING THE PLAGUE –Representation of Black Death time in art

Spreading from central Asia to Russia, this pestilence devastated Europe and left behind despair and sadness. Also the lives of all artist were experienced in its shadow, facing the danger that contagion could seize in their city. Thousands of painters and craftsmen perished during the mid 14th century, and the heart of the European world was torn open. That time, most of paintings have represented the triumph of death over the ignorant people. The Black Death, have always reinforced realism in art, because the fear of hell became real.

With idea of death and religion, the pandemic of plague have affected European culture. The Renaissance was just getting started and The Black Death kept coming back. Many artistic representations have captured moments of the death. One of the very last series of plagues hit London in 1665.

In 1347 the Black Death (bubonic plague) was brought by the ship to Sicily. Infected fleas (seeking a new blood meal), have always jumped off their hosts, leaping onto another human, biting their new victim and causing new infection, until the victim became unrecognizable monster and died. In the next few years, Black Lady have killed a third of Europe’s population. Why are we so afraid of epidemics? Until the late 17th century, Europe was stalked by the Black Death, but art it flourished, and the trauma of this era had instigated also the imaginations of painters for decades to follow.

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