Representing Infirmity: Diseased Bodies in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy, International Conference

Date/Time: Wed 13 Dec - Fri 15 Dec / All Day

Location: Monash University Prato Centre

Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

International Conference

Representing Infirmity: Diseased Bodies in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy, International Conference

This conference represents the first analysis of how diseased bodies were represented in Italy during the ‘long Renaissance’, from the early 1400s through ca. 1650. Many individual studies by historians of art and medicine address specific aspects of this subject, yet there has never been an attempt to define or explore the broader topic. Moreover, most studies interpret Renaissance images and text through the lens of current notions about disease. This conference avoids the pitfalls of retrospective diagnosis, and looks beyond the modern category of ‘disease’ by viewing ‘infirmity’ in Galenic humoural terms. Papers explore what infirmities were depicted in visual culture, in what context, why, and when. Specific examples consider the idealized body altered by disease, and the relationship between the depiction of infirmities through miracle cures and through medical treatment. Speakers also examine how and why these representations change across media and over time. Thus, certain types of diseased bodies appear often in votive images, but never in altarpieces or sculptures; representations of wounds and sores grow increasingly less graphic and frequent, but with notable exceptions. The conference addresses the construction of the notion of disease, and aims to present a new paradigm for the field.


The event begins with a keynote lecture by John Henderson on December 13, followed by two days of papers by (in alphabetical order): Sheila Barker, Danielle Carrabino, Peter Howard, Fredrika Jacobs, Jenni Kuuliala, Jonathan Nelson, Diana Bullen Presciutti, Paolo Savoia, Michael Stolberg, and Evelyn Welch.

Go to the Body in the City events page for more details:

Wednesday 13th December – Friday 15th December 2017

December 13 at 6:00pm – December 15 at 1:00pm

Please see the event website for more details of times.

Monash University Prato Centre

For more information, contact Jill Cox on 9905 2253.

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