The bubonic plague was perhaps one of the most devastating events to hit the Italian peninsula. Killing large amounts of people, and wreaking havoc on entire populations, death was a very prominent part of life during this time. This was perhaps when people needed uplifting the most. The request for inspirational and/or religious images rose as the city became ravaged by disease. Not only were painting being commissioned, but hospitals and retreats for the sick were also being built to help alleviate some of the problem. Many buildings were constructed as memorials for the dead as well as the survivors.
While religious pieces of work were being done, so where other pieces of work that depicted the effects of the plague on the population as a whole. In the fresco painting, 'Triumph of Death', the artist force people to take a look at their lives as finite beings. The scenes depicted in this particular piece involve coffins and corpses, as well as people who have come to terms with their eventual demise. 'Triumph of Death' has many meanings embedded through out and does a good job at conveying them.
I think for the most part, art during this time did not suffer a great loss. More pieces were being commissioned to raise spirits and to show what was really happening to the population. Even though death was a very likely idea at this time for most people, art helped them in more than one way. The religious paintings either gave people hope, or the paintings like 'Triumph of Death' helped people face the reality of the situation. Either way, art was not hindered.