EXCLUSIVE WEBINAR | “At the Altar of Medicine: Medical Secrets in Medieval and Renaissance Altarpieces”
Presented by Dr. Jeremy Wasser
with Additional Commentary by Dr. Rocky Ruggiero
Medieval and Renaissance altarpieces found in churches throughout Europe and in museum collections worldwide, represent some of the most beautiful and profound examples of religious art. What may not be obvious, is that along with a great deal of religious symbology many altarpieces also bear direct or indirect representations of disease. Some, like the magnificent early 16th century Isenheim Altar painted by Matthias Grünewald, can be said to be principally about medicine. The Isenheim Altar and others like it were specifically commissioned for display in monasteries belonging to hospital orders or in hospital chapels. Many other altarpieces allude to issues of medical morbidity and mortality if you know where to look and how to interpret the signs!
Join physiologist and medical historian, Dr. Jeremy Wasser, for a closer look at altarpieces that tell a medical as well as a spiritual or liturgical story. Of course, we will discuss Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece focusing on the botanical and medicinal properties of the plants depicted in the panel illustrating the desert meeting of St. Anthony the Great and St. Paul the Hermit. Learn what the healers of that time believed about the curative powers of these plants and discover what modern medical science has to tell us about them.
We will also focus on less well-known altarpieces created by both southern and northern European artists that contain overt or hidden medical meanings and associations. Some of these also contain serendipitous illustrations of physiology and disease. Discover the imagery and symbology that was used to transmit a medical message in these works of art and learn why the artists and those who commissioned the altarpieces wanted these messages embedded in them. You will never look at an altarpiece in quite the same way again!
The webinar will include a 45-minute lecture followed by 15-minutes of Q&A.
- Your participation is confirmed once you have purchased your ticket. You will receive the Zoom link to join the presentation circa 30 minutes before the start time.
- VIDEO RECORDING of the webinar will be available for unlimited streaming at your convenience for 7 days after the event.