New book – John Henderson, Frederika Jacobs, Jonathan Nelson (eds), Representing Infirmities. Diseased Bodies in Renaissance Italy, London: Routledge, 2020.

Representing Infirmity. Diseased Bodies in Renaissance Italy

Edited ByJohn Henderson, Fredrika Jacobs, Jonathan K. Nelson, 1st Edition, 2020, 272 pages, eBook ISBN9781003032885

This volume is the first in-depth analysis of how infirm bodies were represented in Italy from c. 1400 to 1650. Through original contributions and methodologies, it addresses the fundamental yet undiscussed relationship between images and representations in medical, religious, and literary texts.

This volume is the first in-depth analysis of how infirm bodies were represented in Italy from c. 1400 to 1650. Through original contributions and methodologies, it addresses the fundamental yet undiscussed relationship between images and representations in medical, religious, and literary texts.

Looking beyond the modern category of ‘disease’ and viewing infirmity in Galenic humoral terms, each chapter explores which infirmities were depicted in visual culture, in what context, why, and when. By exploring the works of artists such as Caravaggio, Leonardo, and Michelangelo, this study considers the idealized body altered by diseases, including leprosy, plague, goitre, and cancer. In doing so, the relationship between medical treatment and the depiction of infirmities through miracle cures is also revealed. The broad chronological approach demonstrates how and why such representations change, both over time and across different forms of media. Collectively, the chapters explain how the development of knowledge of the workings and structure of the body was reflected in changed ideas and representations of the metaphorical, allegorical, and symbolic meanings of infirmity and disease.

The interdisciplinary approach makes this study the perfect resource for both students and specialists of the history of art, medicine and religion, and social and intellectual history across Renaissance Europe.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Part I|67 pages – Approaches to the representation of infirmity

Chapter 1|25 pages – Cancer in Michelangelo’s Night. An Analytical Framework for Retrospective Diagnoses

By Jonathan K. Nelson

Chapter 2|19 pages – The Language of Medicine in Renaissance Preaching

With Peter Howard

Chapter 3|21 pages- Representing Infirmity in Early Modern Florence

By John Henderson

Part II|48 pages – Institutions and visualizing illness

Chapter 4|22 pages – On Display, Poverty as infirmity and its visual representation at the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena

With Maggie Bell

Chapter 5|24 pages – The Friar as Medico, Picturing leprosy, institutional care, and Franciscan virtues in La Franceschina

With Diana Bullen Presciutti

Part Part III|71 pages – Disease and treatment

Chapter 6|22 pages – The Drama of Infirmity, Cupping in sixteenth-century Italy

With Evelyn Welch

Chapter 7|26 pages – Suffering through it, Visual and textual representations of bodies in surgery in the wake of Lepanto (1571)

With Paolo Savoia

Chapter 8|21 pages – Artistic Representations of Goitre in Early Modern Art in Italy

With Danielle Carrabino

Part IV|59 pages – Saints and miraculous healing

Chapter 9|22 pages – Infirmity in Votive Culture, A case study from the sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Arco, Naples

By Fredrika Jacobs

Chapter 10|20 pages – Infirmity and the Miraculous in the Early Seventeenth Century, The San Carlo cycle of paintings in the Duomo of Milan

With Jenni Kuuliala

Chapter 11|15 pages – Epilogue, Did Mona Lisa suffer from hypothyroidism? Visual representations of sickness and the vagaries of retrospective diagnosis

With Michael Stolberg

More infos on the editor’s website


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