Danse Macabre

I, along with gazillions of others, am fascinated by the Danse Macabre. "Totentanz (German), is a late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one's station in life, the dance of death unites all. La Danse Macabre consists of the personified death leading a row of dancing figures from all walks of life to the grave, typically with an emperor, king, youngster, and beautiful girl—all skeletal. They were produced to remind people of how fragile their lives and how vain the glories of earthly life were. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest artistic examples are in a cemetery in Paris from 1424."

So, here is a sampling of medieval pictures (more on link):

My husband is a product of Austria's monasteries, having wanted to be Pope (thank God he discovered girls and books), and Heiligenkreuz is where he studied before he went to Melk. These following are photos I took in their chapels, and the embroidered skeletons are so beautiful these pictures don't do them justice. I dream of a bedroom decorated like these!

One of my favorite painters, Albert Pinkham Ryder, whose works are like open wounds, paint oozing from the cracks, are meditations not only on their subjects but the entire passion of paint itself and its own mortality. Some of his works are at the Smithsonian and seeing them is a little bit of paradise, an experience I highly recommend!

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