Plague Doctor

Assessment

Directions: 

Examine the painting and answer the questions that follow.

Source: 

The following painting was made in 1910. It depicts the type of clothing worn by doctors when treating patients who had the plague in the 17th century. The artist based the drawing on information about doctors’ clothing in a book written in 1721 by Jean Jacques Manget.

Question 1: How might the painting be useful as evidence of what doctors wore in the 17th century when treating patients with the plague?

Question 2: What about this source might make it less useful as evidence of what doctors wore in the 17th century when treating patients with the plague?

About the Assessment

Students with a sophisticated understanding of how to source this document will be able to explain that the painting is useful in that it is based on information from a person who witnessed the plague in the 17th century. They will also observe, however, that the image might be limited as evidence of what doctors wore because it is an artist’s interpretation rendered over two centuries after the account was recorded.