Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
The Plague in Florence - 1348 by KristinaGehrmann The Plague in Florence - 1348 by KristinaGehrmann
"The Black Death was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It is widely thought to have been an outbreak of bubonic plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, although this view has been challenged by a number of scholars. Usually thought to have started in Central Asia, it had reached the Crimea by 1346. From there, probably carried by fleas residing on the black rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships, it spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe.

The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 70% of Europe's population, reducing the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as creating a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover. The plague returned at various times, resulting in a larger number of deaths, until it left Europe in the 19th century."
(quoted from Wikipedia)

I've been wanting to paint something with Sleepy Hollow-inspired lighting for some time now.
It was quite a challenge... I wonder if Tim Burton would like it? XD Haha!

In my next painting I want to depict a scene from the same period, but more in the spirit of Boccaccio's Decamerone - a group of young patricians fleeing Florence in 1348 and gathering in the beautiful countryside to tell each other raunchy stories. It would be the perfect "counterpiece" to this one, colorful and cheerful looking...

I'm thinking too much when I should be describing my technique here! :XD: Anyway, this illustration was made just the same way as all my other pictures, under which you sometimes can find links to WIP steps.

The church door here is a photo (my own); everything else is 100% hand-painted with love by yours truly. For the house in the background I used a reference image of Florentine houses (Did they already have green shutters in the 14th century? Probably not...)

Photoshop and Wacom tablet, around 20 hours, blah blah...

Thank you for looking! :D

------ :heart: ------
Follow me on Facebook!

My web portfolio!


Add a Comment:
JB-Pawstep Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
You should draw / paint for history books 8D looks amazing.
juanramram Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017
vincentjongman Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like the atmosphere a lot. Great work!
AkhillesY Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2016
Really awesome work
DreamsUnderStarlight Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Those birds in the background are gigantic... sorry first thing I noticed. >_> Wonderfully done, very tragic.
MorningMelon Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013  Hobbyist
Brilliant atmosphere and color scheme.
Guyonachair Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
If I give you credit for this can I use this in a game I'm developing?
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Tell me more about your game.
VMcQueen Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012   Writer
i almost can smell the city, man! great job
TheSilverBells Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2012
Amazing painting, as always. ^^

I have a question, why does the man sitting againt the stairs have a bleeding back and no hair? Was he punished for something, or... Is he just there to fill space? xD
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :)
I imagined this guy to be one of the flagellants who went around whipping themselves.
cemac Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012
Congratulations, I have included this wonderful artwork on the front of the :icondigitaldelights: journal in the fourth group feature "Some of my favourite submissions from artists 'L to T'. Thank you for being a member :heart:
Connya Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Awesome job. The only kind of "critique" I could give is that the woman's buboes would be darker in shade/color slightly larger, and all of the fingers of the victims would be darkened as a sign of the infection.... Otherwise this is amazing. Please keep it up
FlowerOfTheCourt Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Simply exquisite. I am intrigued by your style of art and will definitely be keeping an eye on you.
livingpuppet Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2011
lucky sods lol. Wish I had the plague
NOTEBLUE13 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is quite beautiful.
The detail is impeccable and the expressions on their faces are
filled with so much emotion.
dotsweare Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011

And here I was thinking that I was the only one who scrolled through Wikipedia and read these history articles late at night/early morning XD
I can definitely see the Sleepy Hollow inspired dark lighting, I bet mr Burton would be proud indeed! The scene is very much in his area of work lol
I love the detail, even down to the shutters on the windows. Hm, I wonder if they did have them? You'd have to think they'd keep the rain out somehow!
Okay, and I love that small rat in the bottom right corner, they truly were everywhere! Roaming the streets, carrying that forsaken disease and spreading it... What a shocking time that must have been!

Beautiful work (:
brokenwings34 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011
realy beautiful and your description is wonderful..i'm here as an art-lover and too learn..and you really make it in an amazing way:-)...:rose:
biomonkey666 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2011
thank you so much for making prints of this :D
DarkElektra Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
Well done!! :)
Novester-Finch Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I've always enjoyed the artwork that followed the 'Black Death' and you did very well with the depiction. Plus I just noticed the figure of the man, the flagellant, hiding around the stairs. Great job including him!
jennymajeske Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011   Traditional Artist
I feel that this is a lovely painting. It has tremendous sense of depth and the gloomy lighting is perfect. I like the facial expressions of the two women, they are complex and moving. Comparatively the simple expressions on the men's faces are bland. The figure of the dead child in the foreground would be more effective if he were more carefully rendered. As is, he looks a bit like a sack of potatoes. His thigh blends into his belly. He also does not seem to be on the ground but floating a few inches above.

I like the details of the rats and the placement of the orange fires that make the predominately blue-grey palette even more dismal in contrast.
Vampyre-Lover Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
A Stunning Masterpiece!!! WOW!!!
TenmaArtTheifHunter Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011
omg that's just wonderfull

it still scares me how there was such a disease that affected the world soo much (doing a porject on it)
SeekHim Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Its horrifying and yet beautiful
YashaFra Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2011
I definitely LOVE you ç_ç your works, your conceptions and all of these drawings about Italian literature *_*
visionart Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011   Digital Artist
Brilliant Just Brilliant Artwork!!!!!
Lamathyave Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011
beautiful n_n
DieRomantic928 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Student Photographer
This is an incredible representation of the Black Death and the effect it had on the people. I'm really impressed. Great work!
frenchfox Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2010
Beautiful and very impressive ! :clap:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
:) thank you!
Villenueve Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :)
UchihaxItachixox Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2010
I hate to say it but...sometimes I wish with all my heart that I could go back in time, stand in the middle of a town square and shriek through the curtains of chaos; "WHERE'S YOUR SO CALLED 'GOD' NOW!?"
Metalheadbabe50 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2010
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
yes, that's a flagellant =)
TheOtherDoctor Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Beautiful and sinister - reminds me of Assassin's Creed II! And yes, Tim Burton would definitely approve.
Puddum Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh wow, this is an awesome and powerful piece. I love the detail and the subjects' expressions. The suffering is very apparent and the lighting/coloring really helps to express that. I think Tim Burton would be proud. :)
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010
Your deviation was featured in this news article!
Do browse through the other amazing deviations!
Thank you!
Luineannon Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2010
I doubt there's much I can say that hasn't already been said. Very emotional piece. Have you ever done any regarding the wars?
Nekothedeviant Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, it's amazing!
Mitia-Arcturus Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2010   Photographer
dear Maidith...!!!
This very Impressive work is featured in Action-Portraits...!!!
owensangel10 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
I love this...another period piece..Can't wait to see your next one! Great job! I feel all the emotion from this!
T3h-Hugging-Monster Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010
This is brilliant.
The plague changed history, probably for the better. It revolutionised the way people thought about the world.
sanctuary-meadow Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amazing :)
SuperSmurgger Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is simply celestial, incredible and breath-taking !!!
Seyreene Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh ja, ein Decamerone-Bild! Das führt dich dann gleich zu den Anfängen des Kunstmärchens. ;)

Du hast diese zwielichtige, düstere Atmosphäre aber gut gemeistert. Das Bild sieht auch wieder sehr nach den alten Meistern aus, faszinierend. Nur irgendwie auch ein bisschen steif... (Okay, die Leute sind halb tot, aber dennoch könntest du durchaus noch etwas am Dynamik-Schräubchen drehen. ;) )
Kyuuzen Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Such an amazing piece of art! I love the details on the characters and the colors are simply spectacular.But the shutters seem kinda out of place xD
I am looking forward to seeing your Decamerone painting ^^
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
October 7, 2010
Image Size
252 KB


33,179 (3 today)
1,080 (who?)