Death and the Macabre in Late Medieval Art

The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Europe were marked by the persistence of death imagery as well as by the appearance of the macabre, both in literary and visual production. In addition to discussing medieval attitudes towards (and anxieties about) death, ritual, resurrection, and representation, we will investigate images and texts of the Dance of Death, The Encounter of the Three Dead and Three Living, and ars moriendi treatises; study memento mori objects, tomb sculpture, and imagery associated with the Black Death; and learn about emulation and reception of martyrdom imagery. In exploring the continuing rise of vernacular culture and the varying expressions of medieval literacy, we will pay particular attention to the role of the beholder in the processes of viewing and reading.

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