This print is a copy of Alfred Rethel’s wood engraving. The caption at the bottom of the print reads, “Erster Auftritt der Cholera auf einem Maskenball in Paris 1831,” which, translated, reads: “The first outbreak of cholera at a masked ball in Paris, 1831.” Alfred Rethel (1816-1859) was a German history painter. He began his art career in decoration at the imperial hall in the Römer (a medieval building owned by the city of Frankfurt, Germany). However, as mental derangement from childhood trauma began to manifest, his paintings and prints began to demonstrate a mixture of madness and sanity. In this print, he juxtaposed music and death. In the center of the print, a skeleton, probably a personification of death, among the dead, holds two bones like a violin and bow. A crowd of musicians is fleeing from the scene with their instruments.
Black ink engraving on off-white paper.
Ninteenth century black and white engraving of the figure of death playing the violin with bones with masked dead at his feet, and others running away. In a Northen Renaissance style.
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