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THE DANCE OF DEATH. 25 at Antwerp, where this artist worked, entitled, cc Doodt vermaskert, or Death masked/' accompanied with eighteen cuts of the Dance of Death, which in the ...
Show more THE DANCE OF DEATH. 25 at Antwerp, where this artist worked, entitled, cc Doodt vermaskert, or Death masked/' accompanied with eighteen cuts of the Dance of Death, which in the title page are ascribed to Holbein. They are all, except three, impressions from the identical blocks of the beautiful and original cuts of this subject; but the above-mentioned artist has had the effrontery to put his mark, together with the figure of a graving tool or knife, upon several of them. It is, however, possible that he might have repaired them, as some of the smaller lines, which in former impressions seem to have been injured, are here much stronger. It might be tedious to describe all the imitations of the Dance of Death which have appeared at different times, as they are exceedingly numerous; but it would be unpardonable not to notice an alphabet of initial letters with this subject, which for humour, and excellence of design, are even superior to the celebrated one ; and with respect to execution, especially when their minuteness is considered, being less than an inch square, absolutely wonderful. Their composition is entirely different from that of any of the others, and one of them is extremely indecent. They appear to have been done at Basil; for in the public library there is preserved a sheet, whereon arc printed three alphabets, viz. the one above-mentioned, another of boys at play, and the third, a dance of peasants, &c. The designs of some of the last are the same as those in a similar Dance
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26 THE DANCE OF DEATH. by Holbein, formerly painted on a house at Basil, and of which some drawings are still preserved ; and it is therefore not improbable that he also designed...
Show more 26 THE DANCE OF DEATH. by Holbein, formerly painted on a house at Basil, and of which some drawings are still preserved ; and it is therefore not improbable that he also designed the Dance of Death for these initials. They have apparently been struck off as proofs or patterns for some bookseller*, and at the bottom of the sheet is the mark ILwith the words tc Hans Liitzelburger Formschneider, (/. e. block-cutter), in Basel." In this manner has been preserved the name of a most exquisite artist, whom, from the similarity of style and subject, there is every reason to suppose the person who executed the fine cuts of the first Dance of Death. As he worked after the designs of Holbein, it is also probable that the painter might have invented some of the seventeen subjects which appeared in continuation of the original work, and that Liitzelburger also cut them for the subsequent editions. From the extreme delicacy with which the initials with the Dance of Death are executed, there is reason to suppose that they were not cut upon blocks of wood, but of metal, as was probably the larger work of the same subject; and in support of this conjecture it may be observed, that blocks of this kind are still preserved in the cabinets of the curious. * They were actually used by Cratander, a printer at Basil; and other initial letters, with Dances of Death, are to be seen in books printed at Zurich, Strasburg, and Vienna, in the sixteenth century. All the alphabets are in the possession of the ompiler of this essay, but they have not the monogram.
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THE DANCE OF DEATFL 27 In 1780, Chretien de Mechel, a well-known artist and printseller at Basil, published forty-five engravings of a Death's Dance, as part of the works o...
Show more THE DANCE OF DEATFL 27 In 1780, Chretien de Mechel, a well-known artist and printseller at Basil, published forty-five engravings of a Death's Dance, as part of the works of Holbein, of which