Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art
Person:
Wright, Thomas Fairholt, Frederick William
Persistente ID:
urn:nbn:de:gbv:wim2-g-1429385
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/resolver?urn=urn:nbn:de:gbv:wim2-g-1432096
in 
Lzferature 
and Art. 
215 
Dance of Macabre, this name being confidered as a mere corruption of 
Macarius. The temper of the age-in which death in every form was 
conftantly before the eyes of all, and in which people fought to regard 
life as a mere tranfltory moment of enjoyment-gave to this grim idea of 
the fellovvfhip of death and life great popularity, and it was not only 
painted on the walls of churches, but it was fufpended in tapeflry around 
people's chambers. Sometimes they even attempted to reprefent it in 
mafquerade, and we are told that in the month of October, I424, the 
" Danfe Macabre " was publicly danced by living people in the cemetery 
of the Innocents, in Paris--a fit place for fo lugubrious a performance- 
in the prefence of the Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Burgundy, who 
came to Paris after the battle of Verneuil. During the relt of the century 
we find not unfrequently allufions to the "Danie Macabre." The 
Englifh poet Lydgate wrote a feries of Itanzas to accompany the figures, 
and it was the fubject of fome of the earlieft engravings on wood. In 
the pofture and accompaniments of the Hgures reprefenting the different 
claffes of fociety, and in the greater or lefs reluctance with which the 
living accept their not very attractive partners, fatire is ufually implied, 
and it is in fome cafes accompanied with drollery. The figure reprefent- 
ing death has almolt always a grimly mirthful countenance, and appears 
to be dancing with good will. The moll remarkable early reprefentation 
of the " Danfe Macabre " now preferved, is that painted on the wall of 
the church of La Chaife Dieu, in Auvergne, a beautiful fac-[imile of 
which was publiihed a few years ago by the well-known antiquary 
M. Jubinal. This remarkable picture begins with the figures of Adam 
and Eve, who are introducing death into the World in the form of a 
ferpent with a death's head. The dance is opened by an ecclefiaflic 
preaching from a pulpit, towards whom death is leading firlt in the dance 
the pope, for each individual takes his precedence flzrictly according to his 
clafs-alternately an ecclefiaftic and a layman. Thus next after the pope 
comes the emperor, and the cardinal is followed by the king. The 
baron is followed by the bifhop, and the grim partner of the latter appears 
to pay more attention to the layman than to his own prieft, fo that two 
dead men appear to have the former in charge. The group thus repre- 
tented
        

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