Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Plague and Artistic Production

The Bubonic Plague (or The Black Death) hit the European continent in the late 1340s and it lasted for 5 years. In Europe, 25-50% of the population was killed by the plague. But since Italy's population was very dense, 50-60% of the population was killed. During the time of the Black Death, people stayed inside and feared leaving because of the disease. Religious images were made to encourage the people and strengthen their beliefs. But after the plague, artistic production changed drastically in 14th Century Italy. Art changed during the Renaissance, which means "rebirth". It is clear that people were trying to move on from the Dark Ages and new ideas emerged. Artists started to have an interest in nature and started to move away from religious art. The idea of Humanism also emerged which made paintings look more realistic with more emotion and human characteristics. One example can be seen by the artist Giotto di Bondone. He still painted religious themes but he focused more on observations like nature. Architecture also changed because after the plague, hospitals were made to take care of the sick and dying. After such a dark time in Europe, the Renaissance was a time for people to "live" again (and I'm sure all the survivors really appreciated their lives).

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