We are holding a small reading group with Prof. John Henderson, Professor of Italian Renaissance History in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London, and Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge.
Prof. Henderson will be presenting his paper: 'Visualising the Great Pox in Early Modern Italy: patients, symptoms and treatment'.
The experiences of patients who suffered from the Great Pox in early modern Europe have become the focus in recent years of a series of studies in counties both north and south of the Alps, from Santiago to Venice, to Nuremberg and Frankfurt to London. These studies have been principally based on archival and literary sources, but few attempts have been made to examine the visual representation of the earlier phases of this epidemic in early modern Italy, in contrast to the plethora of studies of plague imagery. The present paper is part of a wider study of the representation of the Pox in Italy, based on an analysis of visual evidence in relation to a wide range of contemporary written sources.
Image: 'A Man with the Great Pox seated on a hand-cart', incised marble plaque outside the Church of Santa Maria in Porta Paradisi, Hospital of San Giacomo degli Incurabili, Rome.