After coming across an article highlighting how bird watching serves as a therapeutic outlet during challenging times, I delved into another intriguing piece about doctors donning bird-like masks during the 1656 Plague in Italy and France.
The attire of these plague doctors was designed to shield them from airborne diseases. In 17th-century France and Italy, their distinctive costume included an ankle-length overcoat paired with a beak-like mask, often filled with fragrant substances like lavender. The ensemble also featured gloves, boots, a wide-brimmed hat, and an additional outer garment.
In the midst of our current Covid-19 crisis, juxtaposing these two bird-like "treatments" felt poignant, regardless of the scientific accuracy. It's a fascinating reflection on how, across different eras, birds have been both a solace for the soul and an inspiration for protective attire.
The Plague Doctors Mixed media, watercolor, collage
12" x 16" on cold pressed paper
Mixed media, water color, collage on paper
12" x 8"