Rita Yates

PhD Student


Research Interests
Early modern art and visual culture | Ex-votos and votive practices | Disease and healing | Iconography of plague and pestilence | Faith and practice in the Age of Enlightenment | History of Science | Environmental humanities | Landscape and environment

Year PhD started


Religion and Disaster in Eighteenth-Century French Art

In eighteenth-century France, natural disasters, including plagues, earthquakes, and eruptions played a major role in the production of art. Focusing on religious subject matter - images of cult and devotion, the cult of saints, and the biblical canon - this project examines the production, function, and reception of art and visual culture in response to disaster. It discusses the extent to which these images promulgated traditional discourses of providence (sin, retribution, and redemption) and their role in strengthening eighteenth-century religiosity. More broadly, this project aims to contribute to our understanding of art, religion, and the natural world in Enlightenment France.

Supervisors: Dr Paul Taylor / Dr Raphaële Mouren

Conference Papers

'The Sacred Heart of Jesus: Image, Rhetoric and Practice during the Great Plague of Marseille, 1720-22,' The 14th Annual Imago Conference, In Sickness and in Health: Pestilence, Disease, and Healing in Medieval and Early Modern Art, University of Haifa, Israel, 12-13 January 2021.