Thursday, May 07, 2020

MONSTER BRAINS - Stephen Romano Curator in Residence -Art in the time of the pandemic - Dance with Death as interpreted by David Deuchar 1778

"Mors sceptra ligonibus aequat. "
"Death confounds the sceptre with the spade.

The Dance Macabre consists of the dead or a personification of death summoning representatives from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and laborer. It was produced as memento mori, to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of earthly life. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest recorded visual scheme was a now-lost mural at Holy Innocents' Cemetery in Paris dating from 1424 to 1425. 

"The dances of death, through the various stages of human life: wherein the capriciousness of that tyrant is exhibited: in the forty-six copper-plates". David Deuchar 1788.
Collection of Stephen Romano, Brooklyn.
each plate is approximately 2 x 3 inches.

David Deuchar (1743-1808) had his dance of death published  in London 1788 .

Hollar's plates were much inspired by Arnold Birckmann's interpretation of Holbein's work, Deuchar has chosen the exact same variants that Hollar had chosen.

Deuchar's plates are signed HB i for "Holbein invenit" and DD f for "David Deuchar fecit" (i.e.: Holbein has invented the design, Deuchar has executed it). At the bottom of the frames it says "David Deuchar fecit".
The full story here.

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