Art of Death: Visual Culture in the English Death Ritual C. 1500-1800

Art of Death: Visual Culture in the English Death Ritual C. 1500-1800

by Nigel Llewellyn


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How did our ancestors die? Whereas in our own day the subject of death is usually avoided, in pre-Industrial England the rituals and processes of death were present and immediate. People not only surrounded themselves with memento mori, they also sought to keep alive memories of those who had gone before. This continual confrontation with death was enhanced by a rich culture of visual artifacts. In The Art of Death, Nigel Llewellyn explores the meanings behind an astonishing range of these artifacts, and describes the attitudes and practices which lay behind their production and use.

Illustrated and explained in this book are an array of little-known objects and images such as death's head spoons, jewels and swords, mourning-rings and fans, wax effigies, church monuments, Dance of Death prints, funeral invitations and ephemera, as well as works by well-known artists, including Holbein, Hogarth and Blake.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780948462160
Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date: 06/28/1997
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nigel Llewellyn is Lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Sussex, and has curated an exhibition entitled 'The Art of Death', to be held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Table of Contents

I. The Object of Commemoration
II. Rites of Passage
III. Dying, A Process
IV. Dances of Death
V. Examples of Virtue
VI. Death, A Bad Business
VII. Two Bodies
VIII. Body Language
IX. The Natural Body and its Fate
X. Funerals: The Declaration of Difference
XI. Heraldic Displays
XII. Funereal Paraphernalia
XIII. Liturgies
XIV. Worn Out and In
XV. Objects of Mourning
XVI. The Monumental Body
XVII. Kinds of Monument
XVIII. Image Theory
XIX. Epilogue
Select Bibliography
List of Illustrations

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