Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Black Death and its Affects on Art in the 14th Century

In the late 1340s the bubonic plague, or Black Death, threw art as people knew it for a spin. The death toll in Italy was predominantly high; the plague abolished as much as 50 or 60 percent in some area, according to the book.

The Black Death affected art in many different ways. This tragedy changed the focus of art to sickness and death, as well as religious and devotional perspectives. Not only did the bubonic plague affect art, but also architecture. Hospitals and churches were now being built in a more gothic style. A great example of this is Orcagna’s tabernacle, which is a memorial to those who passed away and also survived the Black Death. The production of the Orcagna’s tabernacle was driven by the plague, with many-sided piers and slim spiral colonnettes.

Humanism, solidity of forms, byzantine styles and an interest in illusion was all gained from the plague. It caused artists to paint and draw more realistic; to depict people as they really looked.
As a result, this allowed the artwork to have more emotion and drama.

As the death toll continued to grow, more people found holy places to pray and worship. The people of Italy became hopeless and had to confront their mortality every day. As a result, it was shown in the artwork; people with frowns, dead bodies and sadness were included in a lot of art. The other aspect was faith; many artists turned to their religion for comfort and stability.

The Black Death changed art in the 14th century significantly. However, it began a new age: the Renaissance. Illusionism, solidity of forms, spatial depth, and a stronger emotional expression were among the few developments of the plague.

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