Stemming from a lack of scholarship on minor plague saints, this study focuses on the saints that were invoked against the plague but did not receive the honorary title of plague patron. Patron saints are believed to transcend geographic limitations and are charged as the sole reliever of a human aliment or worry. Modern scholarship focuses on St. Sebastian and St. Roch, the two universal plague saints, but neglects other important saints invoked during the late Medieval and early Renaissance periods. After analyzing the reasons why St. Sebastian and St. Roch became the primary plague saints I noticed that other "minor" saints fell directly in line with the particular plague associations of either Sebastian or Roch. I categorized these saints as "second-tier" saints. This categorization, however, did not cover all the saints that periodically reoccurred in plague-themed artwork, I grouped them into one more category: the "third-tier" plague saints. This tier encompasses the saints that were invoked against the plague but do not have a direct association to the arrow and healing patterns seen in Sts. Sebastian and Roch iconographies. This thesis is highly interdisciplinary; literature, art, and history accounts were all used to determine plague saint status and grouping, but art was my foundation. I examined important works of art directly associated with the plague and noted which saints appeared multiple times. The results from that assessment spurred further hagiographic and literary study. It was clear that these saints had multivarient connections to the plague. This study into the lives of the saints reaffirms their placement in the artistic and religious history of the pestilential epidemic of the Medieval and early Renaissance periods.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Ortega, Jessica, "Pestilence and prayer saints and the art of the plague in italy from 1370 - 1600" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1367.