Monday, September 1, 2008

Effects of the plague on 14th century Italian art

Like any large-scale disaster, the plague or 'Black Death' had an impact on 14th century Italian culture. What I am going to focus on is the arts. The plague killed off a mass amount of the populace, leaving some potential artists out of the culture. I think this is one of the biggest effects, an unseen one. With that many people dieing daily, great potential was lost and new and moving ideas from these individuals were lost with them. Without the plague, there could have a rapid movement into the later artistic periods, but we will never know. Secondly, the themes of art changed. They moved to a more religious, and somewhat dark state. The paintings of burials and the like, mass burials without coffins for the dead, all very haunting. The hard times them self left less of a demand for things of vanity, like paintings and such. Although, this did leave a gap in the number artists, therefore allowing the ones left to do their work for the church, keeping it very centered for themes at the time. I think this was good to an extent. Leaving a central theme of focus and some brilliant artwork in it (in my opinion). Being Italy as the focus for this writing, the church having a strong presence there allowed for artists to do better than most places, being religious art I mean. Finally, artists who lived through the plague, writers, painters, etc. All had something to bring to the next generation that no others did. Like I said, there was a large amount of potential lost in the plague, but I feel there was just as much found in the themes that the plague brought about.

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