Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Cornell Institute for Digital Collections: The Fantastic in Art and Fiction

Metal engraving
F.R. Schellenberg. Freund heins Erscheinungen.
Winterthur : Heinrich Steiner und Comp., 1785. Page 0.16.
An unusual depiction of suicide, with death catching the man as he fires a pistol at his temple.

Amongst the many images that I seem to compulsively collect off the Web, line art, drawings and woodcuts of the Danse Macabre are at the top of the list. So it was Christmas morning for me to discover (via gmtPlus9) The Fantastic in Art & Fiction site hosted by The Cornell Institute for Digital Collections. Many of the images were entirely new to me and absolutely beautiful. You can click up to over 2ooK for detailed resolution.

[seductive death]
E.-H. Langlois. Essai Historique,
Philosophique et Pittoresque sur les Danses des Morts.
The frontispiece of this pioneering study of the danse macabre theme
shows death attended by demons, leading a placid woman into grave.
The pose of both reminds one in fact of the chevalier at the ball,
with his waltzing partner.

Spectre décharné
J.A.S. Collin de Plancy. Dictionnaire Infernal. Paris : E. Plon, 1863. Page 20.
Ghost foretelling Alexander III’s death

The Fantastic in Art & Fiction is a digital curriculum unit developed by CIDC for John Anzalone, a Visiting Scholar at Cornell. It consists of an image-bank that is a visual resource for the study of the fantastic or of the supernatural in fiction and in art. While the site emerges from a comparative literature course on the topic at Skidmore College, it is also intended to open the door to consideration of some of the constant structures and patterns of fantastic literature, and the problems they raise. In this sense, the materials presented here may find a use among students in a variety of disciplines.
Dptare aliornm mortem
Sabastien Brant. Stultifera Navis. n.c. : n.p., 1497, Plate 105.

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