Alan Gouk The Lizard Squawks Jun18 67 X 122 inches

‘The Dance of Death-Holbein to Rowlandson’ Lecture by Dr Barry Hoffbrand

‘The Dance of Death-Holbein to Rowlandson’ Lecture by Dr Barry Hoffbrand

The Dance of Death concept illuminating the impartiality and inevitability of death arose in the 14th century as a means of coping with the horrors of war and plague. Holbein’s designs are its most memorable images. The English Dance of Death of 1815 subverts the traditional moralising tone with verse by William Combe and illustrations by Thomas Rowlandson taking delight in those indulging in the eternals of sex, vanity, gluttony, greed and drink. Inevitably doctors figure prominently as the culprits beneficiaries and victims. Reminders of the inevitability of death are prominent in art as memento mori and vanitas allusions, and the theme is found in music, literature and film, but with Combe and Rowlandson you just have to laugh.