Dr. Rebecca Messbarger: The Art of Pandemics, A Brief Commentary

Jul 23, 2020 373

Art—literary, visual, performative—has served throughout history to translate the suffering experienced by individuals and societies during a catastrophic pandemic, as well to conceive and, indeed, to spur renewal of the individual and of the social order.

The Medieval author Giovanni Boccaccio sets his masterwork, the Decameron (1351), in the midst of the mass mortality of the 1348 Bubonic Plague, which the author witnessed first-hand in his city of Florence. More than half of the citizenry, including Boccaccio’s father and stepmother, died of the contagion, which would extinguish the lives of 40-60% of the population of Europe.

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SOURCE: https://www.stlouisitalians.com

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