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Costanza Gislon Dopfel
St. Mary's College of California (Moraga, CA 94575-2715)
The Impact of Plague Mortality and Demographic Depression on the Arts of Early Renaissance Florence

Research and writing leading to a book on the connection between the Black Death and the origins of the Italian Renaissance.

The project explores the relationship between epidemics and artistic production in 15th century Italy. Its goal is to understand how the horror of recurring plagues fueled the exceptional intellectual and artistic energy of the Renaissance. The focus is on Florence, as its responses to pandemics are particularly well documented. Paradoxically, as the town braced itself every ten years for a new plague event and faced the threat of societal extinction, it also became the center of artistic innovation. The study suggests an innovative approach that analyzes how art mediates and reflects modifications of social behavior as a response to stress and population decline. The link between human and intellectual fertility unveils not only a connection between female reproductive duties and the iconography of childbirth, but also between art, literature and the public trauma caused by depopulation.

Project fields:
Renaissance Studies; Urban Studies; Women's History

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$35,000 (approved)
$35,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 7/31/2021