Francesco Maria Galassi, Elena Percivaldi, Luigi Ingaliso, Veronica Papa, Elena Varotto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s The Triumph of Death (ca. 1562, Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain), similarly to its Panormitan counterpart (Palazzo Abatellis, ca. 1446), is a perfect representation of the utter devastation brought about by plague, a most terrifying infectious disease capable of manifesting itself in a pandemic form, hence becoming synonymous with the word ‘apocalypse’. Bruegel’s painting so vividly depicts the horrors of such a catastrophe in its human, social, political and religious dimensions, especially at a time when scientific knowledge of the causes, clinical presentation and potential therapies were still heavily limited, hence leaving Europe’s population completely vulnerable to this scourge, in this artwork exemplified by a human skeleton, the personification of Death, caught in the act of riding an emaciated horse.

Such epoch-making disasters offer contemporary students of the history of medicine a tremendously effective comparison with the sufferings and problems encountered when facing similar situations in our own world, just as it is happening with the present COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, by expanding one’s knowledge of the dynamics and the very morphology of these complex pathological phenomena...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCeroplastics
Subtitle of host publicationThe Science of Wax
EditorsRoberta Ballestriero, Owen Burke, Fabio Zampieri
Place of PublicationLerma
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-88-913-2029-2
ISBN (Print)978-88-913-2027-8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Plague
  • Modelling
  • Wax modelling


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