Danse Macabre 2021
by Tim Southall MA (RCA) BA Hons
Etching on paper (etching & aquatint on copper plate in a limited edition of 75)
h 30 x w 40 cm
h 11.8 x w 15.7 in
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Danse Macabre is an artistic genre of allegory begun in the Late Middle Ages and reflects upon the universality of death. These pieces were produced as memento mori, to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of earthly life. Life and death have always fascinated me and following the passing of my own mum, I mulled over the idea of a Danse Macabre for about a year before actually tackling the subject in a physical sense. My aim was to produce an image of other worldliness, shadows, darkness, and mystery, fused with a vibrant party rhythm.
This complex etching began with 'life drawings' of skeletons; getting to know their structure and how they moved and how to portray them without making them too comedic. At the same time I worked on the structure and composition of the overall drawing while trying to include as many symbols of death as I could; Clocks and timepieces suggesting that time is fleeting and that we are all mortal. From the animal world crows, cats, owls, vultures and bats are all associated with death. But for me the most significant aspect of the print is the figure of the old lady in the bottom left of the print. Accompanied by two cats she is leaving the mortal world and receiving an energetic party welcome in the other worldly cemetery. So in essence 'Danse Macabre' is a celebration of life and death and everything in-between.
'Danse Macabre' is printed on Somerset Velvet, an off-white heavyweight 300 gsm handmade paper from St Cuthbert's Mill in Somerset. The print is in a limited edition of 75 and is signed and numbered by the artist. The image size is 30 x 40 cm on a paper size is 44 x 54 cm.