Colloque : « Asclepius, the Paintbrush, and the Pen: Representations of Disease in Medieval and Early Modern European Art and Literature », Los Angeles, UCLA Royce Hall Room 314, 4-5 mai 2018

CMRS Medical Humanities Conference

Humanity has always tended to show a prurient interest in abnormalities. The medieval and early modern period is no exception, displaying a deep fascination with virulent ailments and all sorts of physical deformities. Despite this attraction, few artists of the period engaged in the depiction of disease. When they did, their expression was particular to the medium used and differed among artists even when using the same medium. Since such an effort was outside their norm, what factors drove artists to pick up pen or brush to approach maladies as a subject of esthetic expression? How did the artists’ experiences influence their choices in portraying disease? Were these depictions the result of something that interfered with their intent to faithfully reproduce the best of nature, or do they reflect a rebellion against what we generally assume to be the period’s artistic and literary quest: the portrayal of spiritual beauty and, later, the rediscovered beauty of the human body? This conference, organized by Professor Massimo Ciavolella (Italian, UCLA) and Professor Rinaldo Canalis, MD (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA), engages these questions and the contemporary perspective they elicit.

Advance registration is requestedPlease click here to complete the short registration form.

No fee. Limited seating. Self-pay parking in lots 2, 3, and 4. Parking information at

Funding for this symposium is provided by the Endowment for the UCLA Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies. 



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