2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Physical Disabilities Associated with Religious Paintings from the Renaissance
Christina M. Rejko
Dr. Julia DeLancey and Prof. Martha L. Rose, Faculty Mentors

The outlook on people with disabilities has fluctuated drastically over time. During the Renaissance, many cultures labeled those with atypical physiognomy as sinful and unholy. It was believed that physical bodies represented the state of spiritual purity a person had. Artists such as Rogier van der Weyden and Hieronymus Bosch portrayed these concepts in works of art as warnings to steer viewers away from ways of life they believed were impure. Paintings by these artists depict scenes of the Last Judgment in which the artists distorted the bodies of condemned individuals as representations of their unholiness. In this presentation I will explore how these artists incorporated the Seven Deadly Sins through symbolism and juxtaposed good and evil as they contrasted angels and saints with demons and torture. These images demonstrate that during this period, artists illustrated unsavory souls by altering their bodies to mirror their sinfulness.

Keywords: Renaissance, Disability, Rogier van der Weyden, Hieronymus Bosch , Last Judgment, Seven Deadly Sins, spiritual purity

Topic(s):Art - Art History
Disability and the Arts

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 303-3
Location: OP 2210
Time: 1:30

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