Tag: danse macabre

Albrecht Dürer’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse

I found this image while looking at the Adam and Eve one, and thought I’d post it here, as I’ve already written about the Four Horsemen. *Of course, since this blog is arranged chronologically, you’ll have to scroll down to find them. Thankfully, I’ve tagged every single post I’ve made, so you’ll be able to find them (and the Whore of Babylon) by clicking on the “book of revelations” tag.

The image depicts the titular squad riding during the apocalypse, as the title suggests. An angel watches over them, so the viewer can infer that the woodcut print depicts Judgement Day. From right to left, I can guess that the horsemen are Conquest, War, Famine, and, lastly, Death. I first mistook Death for Famine, but the rider in the middle holds the scales, not the one on the bottom. Therefore, I have to presume that the bottom-left rider is Death.

The person in the most bottom-left corner, who appears to be being eaten by a demon of some sort, is wearing a fancy Pope hat. In the bottom-right corner, I can just barely make out a monk’s tonsure, nearly hidden by a man’s leg. The other people are dressed simply, so they’re probably commoners. The people at the bottom of the image remind me of some of Hans Holbein’s Danse Macabre prints — no matter your status (pope, commoner or clergy), you will die during Judgement Day all the same. For those same reasons, the image also serves as an example of memento mori. Remember, that no matter how many holy deeds you preformed or how high your status in society, that you will die.

Posting two Dürer images near-simultaneously seems like shameless pandering to me, but I think this is fine, as our dear professor does this all the time, anyway.

Image source: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/19.73.209/

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Albinus’ Skeleton

In my Design 14 class, we were required to draw one of Dutch anatomist Bernhard Siegfried Albinus’ skeletons. While our class lecture about the Bubonic Plague was something in the distant past, it appeared on our recent midterm. The skeleton’s pose, with its leaning to its right side (our left) and welcoming arms reminded me of Hans Holbein’s Danse Macabre woodcut prints. Its left hand, in particular, with its pointing index finger, is what reminds me of Holbein’s prints.

To me, that gesture appears to make it look as if the skeleton is welcoming the viewer into the realm of death, as if it were a waiter at a restaurant would direct his customers to their table. It’s a very casual pose, and shows off the bones in the arms while adding some charm.

The drawing was done by me on 18 by 24 inch Bristol paper, with brush and ink pen.

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