Ogling Skull by Julien Adolphe Duvocelle

This is one of Duvocelle's more macabre works. It seems out of key with the moralizing and religious aims of memento mori. This Latin expression, which means "remember you will die", is used for traditional representations of skeletons which are supposed to make the viewer meditate on the fragility of human life.


The sardonic grin and boggling eyes of the skull and the bony hands that seem to clutch at the shroud suggest an extremely morbid and almost provocative symbolism. This impression is intensified by the frame with its rows of bones reminiscent of the catacombs. Although direct comparison is out of the question, the work brings to mind the skeletal, grimacing witches in the work of Goya or Ensor. (http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/graphic-arts/commentaire_id/ogling-skull-10008.html?tx_commentaire_pi1%5Bfrom%5D=845&tx_commentaire_pi1%5BpidLi%5D=848&cHash=a1460810b7)
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