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The Dance of Death by Hans Holbein (1892)

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The "dance of death" or "danse macabre" was a "medieval allegorical concept of the all-conquering and equalizing power of death, expressed in the drama, poetry, music, and visual arts of western Europe, mainly in the late Middle Ages. It is a literary or pictorial representation of a procession or dance of both living and dead figures, the living arranged in order of their rank, from pope and emperor to child, clerk, and hermit, and the dead leading them to the grave." (Encyclopedia Britannica). This week's digitized book contains reproductions of one of the most famous expressions of this dance--forty-two wood cuts by Hans Holbien (1497-1543). In the two images below, death (represented by a skeleton) visits both the rich man and the peddlar alike. Over 100 editions of Holbein's Dance of Death have been published since the original French edition appeared in 1538. This book is one of several hundred works in translation that the Library is digitizing to support the program of study at the Center for Translation Studies being established at UIUC. http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/07/0619translation.html