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

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Reaktion Books, 1991 - Art - 160 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

I
9
II
13
III
16
IV
19
V
28
VI
35
VII
46
VIII
49
XI
65
XII
73
XIII
79
XIV
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XV
94
XVI
101
XVII
109
XVIII
121

IX
54
X
60
XIX
131
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About the author (1991)

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.

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