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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

St. Sebastian Sculpture as a Reflection of Medieval Ideology

The Black Death of the mid-14th century destroyed a proportion of Europe’s population in a way that mentally and emotionally scarred those left alive. Although the plague years may be seen as a low point in the history of human thought and achievements, its tragedy also stimulated achievements in science and medicine as well as new perspectives on social and religious authority. The German artist Ulrich Kriechbaum’s sculpture of St. Sebastian, created around 1470, stands out in particular as a reflection of the attitudes and values of the times after the plague. This sculpture, depicting the Christian martyr and patron saint of plague victims, can be seen as an embodiment of the scientific, superstitious, and religious beliefs that permeated European society after the outbreak of the Black Death and in the Renaissance years to come.

Presenter: Michelle Burke (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 123 Hartwell
Time: 11:05 am (Session II)