Representing Infirmity in Early Modern Florence
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Representing Infirmity in Early Modern Florence book
The visual representation of infirmity and disease in early modern Italy has until recently tended to have been studied through simplistic models of retrospective diagnosis imposed on to evidence produced many centuries earlier for purposes other than that of modern medical science. The votive chapels and churches commissioned by individuals, families, and cities in gratitude for their recovery from an epidemic also provided the context for a wide range of works of art representing sickness and infirmity. This chapter explores this theme through iconographic evidence deriving from early modern Florence and its surroundings. While plague imagery for late medieval Tuscany is well-known, the topic remains understudied for early modern Florence, especially when compared with other Italian cities, such as Milan, Rome, and Naples. The chapter also explores further the joint themes of physical suffering and the curative role of saints in relation to one of Vignali’s most important commissions between 1623 and 1630.