The Black Death quickly entered common folklore in many European countries. In Northern Europe, the plague was personified as an old, bent woman covered and hooded in black, carrying a broom and a rake. Norwegians told that if she used the rake, some of the population involved might survive, escaping through the teeth of the rake. On the other hand, if she used the broom, then the entire population in the area were doomed. The Plague-hag, or Pesta, were vividly drawn by the painter Theodor Kittelsen.
Mummy, There’s an old woman coming
Asnières, now named Asnières-sur-Seine, is the subject and location of paintings that Vincent van Gogh made in 1887. The works, which include parks, restaurants, riverside settings and factories, mark a breakthrough in van Gogh’s artistic development. In the Netherlands his work was shaped by great Dutch masters as well as Anton Mauve a Dutch realist painter who was a leading member of the Hague School and a significant early influence on his cousin-in-law van Gogh. In Paris van Gogh was exposed to and influenced by Impressionism, Symbolism, Pointillism, and Japanese woodblock print genres.
The Raft of the Medusa is an oil painting of 1818–19 by the French Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault. Completed when the artist was 27, the work has become an icon of French Romanticism. At 491 cm × 716 cm (16′ 1″ × 23′ 6″), it is an over-life-size painting that depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today’s Mauritania on 2 July 1816. On 5 July 1816, at least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation and dehydration and practised cannibalism. The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain.
Géricault chose to depict this event in order to launch his career with a large-scale uncommissioned work on a subject that had already generated great public interest. The event fascinated him, and before he began work on the final painting, he undertook extensive research and produced many preparatory sketches. He interviewed two of the survivors and constructed a detailed scale model of the raft. He visited hospitals and morgues where he could view, first-hand, the colour and texture of the flesh of the dying and dead. As he had anticipated, the painting proved highly controversial at its first appearance in the 1819 Paris Salon, attracting passionate praise and condemnation in equal measure. However, it established his international reputation, and today is widely seen as seminal in the early history of the Romantic movement in French painting.
While generally agreed to depict a contemporary street scene in 17th-century Delft, where Vermeer lived and worked, the exact location of the scene Vermeer painted has long been a topic of research and discussion, with studies arguing for the Voldersgracht, where the Vermeer Centre is located, or the Nieuwe Langendijk at the present-day numbers 22 to 26.