Virtual Curator Talk: “Before Vaccines: Art and the Plague in Italy” with Rachel McGarry | WisCommunity


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The bubonic plague struck Europe many times, most notoriously with the Black Death of 1347–51. Outbreaks decimated populations, ravaged cities, farms, and families, devastated economies, and reshaped societies. Governments were unprepared, hospitals overwhelmed, and the poor almost always suffered the most. With no cures or therapies, art and faith were invoked to protect and heal. And after each pandemic came to pass, miraculously, artists, architects, and writers got to work creating art to commemorate the lives lost and protect the living from future pestilences.

This talk will look at the extraordinary art created during and after major outbreaks, focusing, in particular, on the plagues in Italy of 1575–76 and 1630–31. To attend this FREE event, register here:

Rachel McGarry, PhD, is Mia’s Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings.

Ticketing Information
To attend this program: RSVP by calling (612) 870-6323 or register online ( and receive an email with the Zoom link for the program. If you have never used Zoom before, you will be prompted to download the Zoom app or join from your browser. Zoom works best on the Google Chrome browser. If you are having any trouble, contact our visitor experience team at

Give back: This program is free. Mia relies on your support to present its programs and exhibitions. Please consider making a contribution:

[Pictured: Dosso Dossi, The Plague at Pergamea, 1518 Oil on canvas, 23 x 66 in. (formerly collection of Hester Diamond, New York)]


Mar 18 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm