Wednesday, May 5, 2010

He is here to heal you

Do you know Doctor Plague?

Doctor Plague, you say? Ooh! Black Death! Yes, yes, I know Doctor Plague.

Hmhm? Well, I have always been interested in history. And, one of the most interesting characters from European history is, at least to me, the Doctor Plague. Aside from the obvious visual attractive and misterious background, I had always been fond of Doctor Plague because of the many stories I read as a kid on the Black Death subject.

Then, from that point on, as I first saw the Doctor Plague's mask, I immediately fell in love with them.

From Wikipedia:

The Black Death was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe.From there, probably carried by fleas residing on the black rats from merchant ships.

The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population, reducing the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. 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.

During the period of the Black Death and the Great Plague of London, plague doctors visited victims of the plague to verify whether they have been afflicted or not. They were mostly unqualified. Most qualified doctors had left the city to avoid being afflicted. Their outfit consisted of a hat to show that the man was a doctor, mask to protect the face, crystal "eyes" to "protect" the eyes, the beak stuffed with spices or herbs to "purify" the air that the doctor breathed (this was back when they thought the Plague was transmitted by contaminated air), wooden stick to push away victims who would get too close to him, leather gloves to protect the hands, gown waxed from the exterior, and full length boots.

It was believed at the time that the plague was spread through the air, not through the fleas living on the black rat. Therefore, they stuffed herbs and spices in their "beaks" or carried them somewhere. The waxed clothing may have helped prevent fleas latching on, and the clothing also prevented droplet infection. It has been questioned how much this costume was actually worn; the greater part of doctors fled the cities in the early stages of the plague.

Doctor Plague drawing made by me.
Character design by Graham Corcoran.

Technique: I drew all of it. Using uni-ball mic. Doctor Plague was black painted using Bic Permanent Marker. Details were added using Conté à Paris' Pastel Pencils.


stavrina said...

The doctor looks kinda cute. Like a twisted, children's book character. And a bit scary, especially given the implications of the outfit. It would scare the living daylights out of me to see a man walking around dressed like that now

Orphin Lasz said...

Why, thank you very much!
Hahaha yes! That was the idea, so I'm really glad the drawing actually transmits it c:
Well, I actually think Plague's outfit is very interesting, instead of scary! Thanks mostly to the implications of the outfit!

Well, I'm planning on making a Dr. Plague mask soon, so... I guess I'll remember to visit you then!

Amorelle said...

thats so interesting- i've studied the black plague before and never learned that. and awesome drawing.

Erin said...

I remember reading a fiction book that took place during that horrible time. They would kill any animal, cats, dogs, anything. It was really gruesome, what would happen to victims of it.