Jacques-Antony Chovin | Tod zum Narren [death figure wearing foolscap and robe and holding out a string of bells clasping hand of jester; from La danse des morts , 1744 | Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Continuing our spooky Day of the Dead/Halloween theme, we now present you with a slide show of the Danse Macabre. The Dance of Death was an allegory that began in the Middle Ages (possibly in response to the ravages of the black plague) in which death dances with people from all walks of life; it was meant to remind us that no matter our social station, life is fleeting and death inevitable.

The etchings in this slide show were made in the mid-18th century by Jacques-Antony Chovin based on prints by Matthäus Merian from a century before. They come to us from the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas at Austin). Search for Chovin’s name in the Artstor Digital Library to see the accompanying text, which includes dialogues between death and her victims.

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