Christopher M. S. Johns, Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Professor of History of Art, delivered the lecture “Art, Medicine and the Making of Saints in Enlightenment Rome” at Washington University in Saint Louis last month.
Johns’ paper focused on the changes in procedures to make saints during the Enlightenment based on new medical knowledge that impacted how previously unexplained physical and psychic phenomena previously considered miraculous were now explicable as natural conditions rather than the product of supernatural intervention. “How such changes engaged artistic representations of the miraculous in Enlightenment Rome was the primary theme of the lecture,” said Johns.
The lecture was a feature of the Salon Symposium on Enlightenment Science and Religion, the annual meeting of the University’s chapter of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. It is an interdisciplinary group devoted to furthering research and publication on the global eighteenth century.
Pierre Subleyras (1699-1749). The Miracle of Saint Benedict, oil on canvas, 1744, Chiesa di Santa Francesca Romana, Rome.