Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Danse Macabre Collection

woodcut of danse macabre gravedigger in cemetery
Title: Der Tod von Basel : acht Holzschnitte von Rudolf Schiestl zu dem alten Volksliede [LINK]
Author: Rudolf Schiestl, 1924

totentanz skeleton in suit laughs, derailing train
Title: Ein moderner Totentanz : dreiundzwanzig Blätter aus dem Bilderbuch des Todes [LINK]
Author: Tobias Weiss, 1913

lithograph of danse macabre figure taking young man to death

litho of death in form of skeleton taking knight
Title: La Danse des Morts à Bâle [LINK]
Illustrator: (after) Hans Holbein, 1846

dancing skeletons inside triangular illustration border
Title: The dance of death on the Muhlenbruke at Lucerne [LINK]
Author: Caspar Meglinger, 1893

silhouette of death's dance figure downing WWI plane

danse macabre silhouette figure dressed as lady takes upper class gent to death

silhouette of danse macabre skeleton
Title: Ein Totentanz [LINK]
Authors: Walter Draesner & Max von Boehn, 1922

winged totentanz figure in sky

death's dance skeleton puts carpenter into casket

death's dance figure with sword stands behind blindfolded young person
Title: Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände [LINK]
Illustrator / Author: Johann Gottfried Flegel / Carl Merkel, 1850

line drawing of death's dance in middle of war
Title: Auch ein Todtentanz [LINK]
Author: Alfred Rethel & Robert Reinick, 1902

skeleton - danse macabre figure - in rocking chair
Title: Daud un Düwel [LINK]
Author / Illustrator: Karl Wagenfeld / August Heumann, 1919

many dance of death skeletons celebrate, blowing horns and wearing headdresses
Title: Schau-Platz des Todes oder Todten-Tanz in Kupffern und Versen vorgestellet [LINK]
Author: Salomon van Rusting, 1736

The Heinrich Hein University of Düsseldorf recently uploaded the Graphiksammlung „Mensch und Tod“ (Danse Macabre Collection). There are more than ninety books available, many of them from the later (lesser known) Totentanz / Death's Dance period. The complete books are available for all but one or two of the entries.

Previous related entries (the first 3 in particular have a lot of background and links about the Death's Dance genre):
Heidelberger Totentanz ::: Death's Dance ::: Totentanz Blockbook ::: Ars Moriendi ::: Los Calaveras de Posada ::: The Day of The Dead - Papercuts ::: The Antikamnia Chemical Company ::: Speculum Musico-Mortuale.

UPDATE: See the Wurzeltod post: A Mid-November's Dance of Death in which the inimitable Suzanne puts some personal flesh on the bones of 'Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände' by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel.


Anonymous said...

What a great dancer he is.
Another great dance macabre is here:
The gentleman picture of him in the end is the hit!

Katrine K said...

Love this, thanks for sharing!

julesvm said...

made this a couple years back:

Francois Carstens said...

The last image, title "Schau-Platz des Todes..." was totally used in the movie "Madagascar".

Other than that, this is a spine chilling collection.

David said...

Todentanz's association with the Black Death seems to be overlooked.
The fact that it killed about half of Europeans had much to do with this morbid obsession.

peacay said...

David, do you mean overlooked within this post here?? At the bottom you'll see I've left a whole bunch of links as I've covered this territory in some depth previously.

To quote myself (which I didn't really want to do in this entry because it's all laid out in many, many sites):

::::"The Dance of Death or 'Le Danse Macabre' or 'Totentanz' or 'la Danza de la Muerte' was an artistic response across Europe to the devastation brought about by the plague or black death.

Although the origins are obscure, the idea of death visiting households without regard for social or economic status arose as a cultural phenomenon by way of dramatic plays. {Dante and Petrarch are mentioned as possible examples} The inevitablity of death was a reminder to be prepared by living a pious life: 'Memento Mori' -- 'Remember You Will Die'."::::


After writing the above it occurred to me that you meant that the choice of images for this post weren't reflective of the origins? Is that what you're getting at? Because the only reason I bothered to cover this topic again was because the imagery was different to the traditional Holbein (et al) originals (mostly). I like that this genre has traversed centuries and countries and has been morphed into wildly different manifestations that might merely nod in reference to their antecedents.

peacay said...

Oh, that quote was from the Heidelberger Totentanz post (NOW with upsized visuality!!)

Unknown said...

JUBINAL, Achille (1810-1875) : La Danse des morts de la Chaise-Dieu : fresque inédite du XVe siècle.- Troisième édition.- Paris : Librairie archéologique de Didron, 1862.- 20 p.- 4 f. de pl. dépl. : ill. ; 28 cm.


peacay said...

Thanks for that Olivier.
Those plates at the bottom of the page are wonderful.

Suzanne said...

You're so sweet for always pimpin me, PK! :)

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