Δευτέρα, 23 Ιουλίου 2012

Lovis Corinth, Totentanz

Lovis Corinth (1858 – 1925) was a German painter and printmaker whose mature work realized a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism.

Self portrait with skeleton (1896)
It's a kind of mememto mori but without the mystification and dark and dramatic appearance of Death as alive and active figure as it happens in many memento mori paintings. The skeleton here is a suspended lifeless object of anatomy lessons and the whole picture with the vivid colours, sunlight, the city behind and the cool mood of the painter shows death as a natural process. Probably the painter felt death as someting distant. But after his stroke in 1911 and the WW I, his depictions of Death became a dark, gloomy and threatening shadow figure as we see in his 1922 "Totentanz" etchings: In six scenes, Corinth showed in this work Death and its effect on people:

Death and the pair
Death and artist
Death and youth
Dealing with the skeleton is playful, the boy is neither timid nor desperate, but seems to be only interested in the skeleton. The skeleton itself looks less like death, but rather as a model for anatomical study and thus provides a parallel to the 1896 self-portrait with skeleton. The bright display of etching is in contrast to all other images of the portfolio and underlines the recklessness of the scene as well.

Death and oldman
Death and wife
Death at Strucks (name of a friendy coulpe)

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