IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 708: Medieval Childbirth: Social Representation and Medical Realities, I

Tuesday 7 July 2015, 14.15-15.45

Organiser:Costanza Gislon Dopfel, Department of Modern Languages / Department of Art History, Saint Mary's College of California
Moderator/Chair:Paolo Delaini, Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà, Università di Bologna
Paper 708-aVisualising Childbirth: Illustrated Obstetrical Treatises from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Francesca Marchetti, Independent Scholar, London
Index terms: Art History - General, Byzantine Studies, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Medicine
Paper 708-bIconography of the Virgin's Birth: A Female Pattern (Mystras Frescoes, 14th-15th Centuries)
(Language: English)
Antonella Parmeggiani, Scuola di Lettere e Beni Culturali, Università di Bologna
Index terms: Art History - General, Byzantine Studies, Gender Studies, Social History
Paper 708-cHeroic Mothers and Holy Nativities: Towards a Discovery of Female Visual Epic
(Language: English)
Costanza Gislon Dopfel, Department of Modern Languages / Department of Art History, Saint Mary's College of California
Index terms: Art History - Painting, Daily Life, Social History, Women's Studies
Abstract

Birthgiving and reproduction are the inevitable, defining elements of all societies. Upon them rests the survival of families, dynasties, cities and nations. Despite its vital importance, childbirth remains an elusive moment in historical accounts until the Modern Period, while at the same time playing a central role in political, social, and economic transformations. The two sessions on ‘Medieval Childbirth: Social Representation and Medical Realities’ explore the historical connection between medical approaches to childbirth, social reform and political iconography. Ranging from Europe to the Byzantine Empire, from the Mediterranean Basin to Persia, the panels unveil links that span time and space. Session I explores the visualization of birth in medical, political, and social terms, from the obstetrical illustrations of Late Antiquity to the political iconography of holy births both within the late Byzantine context and in connection to the social pressures of demographic recession in 14th century Florence.