Visual culture in times of piety and plague in Malta
“Some authors give primary attention to representations of death and commemoration purely as aspects of the history of art, seeking to place these curious images within established literary categories, such as funeral monuments as part of the history of sculpture or by solving knotty problems of iconography. An alternative tradition uses visual evidence to support other historical narratives such as accounts of medical practice or studies of the evolution of religious belief.
With great skill and independence of mind Christian Attard has written about Maltese plague art by adopting an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses both of these traditional ways of writing with results that will be more useful to today’s readers than either of them. These fascinating studies on the complex artistic and cultural responses to the epidemics that assailed early modern Malta will continue to be relevant long after Covid-19 has been brought under control, perhaps even for as long as its successor viruses continue to threaten humankind.”
Art Historian and former Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex