Hans Holbein the Younger (1497–1543), remembered today for his insightful portraits, was better known in his own time for his varied and extensive graphic works, the most celebrated of which was The Dance of Death. This work, from the woodblocks of collaborator Hans Lützelburger, was first published in book form in 1538.
The theme of the dance of death was a popular one of the sixteenth century. Holbein captured the feeling of death, the leveler, in its attack on all classes, both sexes, and all ages. A stylized skeleton seizes the child from his mother's breast. The skeleton snatches, plays, tugs, and cavorts throughout the rest of the book. The king, emperor, pope, and cardinal must cease from their functions. The skull is thrust into the face of the astrologer. The hourglass runs out onto the floor. Countess, nun, sailor, peddler, senator are all stopped by the common force. Forty-one finely cut, highly detailed woodcuts capture the single motif, Memento mori: "Remember, you will die." Although the theme is common, the variety of expressions, social groups, backgrounds, styles of dress and architecture, and calls to death are so varied that each one is unique in its power.
This edition, reprinting the unabridged 1538 edition, is the first in a series reprinting great rare books from the Rosenwald Collection. Besides the woodcuts, the book contains a prefatory letter by Jean de Vauzéle and various quotations, depictions, and meditations on death, deaths of men, and the necessity of death. A repeated series of the 41 woodblocks follows the reprinted work and contains English translations of the quotations and verses. Art historians and social historians will find this to be one of the best depictions of class life caught at its fateful moment. The collector will find this to be the finest reproduction of one of Holbein's major works.
Dover unabridged republication of the original 1538 edition of Les simulachres & historiees faces de la mort.
I didn't buy this book for the poetry. I wanted the illustrations! The images are not much larger than 1/8th of the page, and they "bleed" so there is very little detail. Read morePublished 16 months ago by MorganB
I know this was a free book, but can't quite imagine why I would want a "version" of a visual book with no illustrations! Read morePublished 22 months ago by Rolan P. Firnhaber
Unfortunately, the subject matter of this book, while interesting and desirable for people like me, is a collection of photocopies of various old pages and apparently no effort was... Read morePublished on November 24, 2012 by elfling
On getting this book as a "bonus" amazon add on... the book is next to useless. It is completely reprinted in a another language; threw half the book and the other contains images... Read morePublished on November 3, 2012 by DKWhalen