Coffin Calendar Girls: A New Take on an Old Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper explores a recent manifestation of the Death and the Maiden art genre through an analysis of coffin calendar art. ‘Death and the Maiden’, in Northern European art, generally features a young woman alone in the company of Death. This genre of art has a long history and the early images portrayed Death as a predatory male. The first of these dates to the proto-Reformation artist, Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). His ‘Young Woman Attacked by Death (The Ravisher)’ (c. 1495) clearly situates Death as a male sexual predator, and this theme can be seen in the contemporary artworks of Hans Baldung (alias Grien) (c1484-1545), Niklaus Manuel (Deutsch) (c1484-1530), and Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550); these proto-Reformist (prior to 1517)/early-Reformist (post 1517) artists produced erotic images in this genre which typically situated the maiden as a young fecund woman, and Death as a letch, either and most often imaged as a decomposing body, or occasionally an expressive skeleton.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
JournalWriting From Below
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014

Keywords

  • Death
  • Art
  • Coffins
  • Erotica
  • Religion

Cite this

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Coffin Calendar Girls: A New Take on an Old Trope. / Welch, Christina.

Vol. 2, No. 1, 01.05.2014, p. 1-29.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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