Today’s graphic offerings look at American politics from the other side of the pond.
Our first offering, from the Guardian, translates an Olympic phenomenon and takes it to the political arena:
Ben Jennings: The cupping of Uncle Sam
And the Independent watches The Donald’s transformation:
Dave Brown: Lighter than air
Finally, from the Guardian once again:
Martin Rowson: Celebrating Syrian airstrikes
We love European cartoonists, in part because their works so often reference great artists of the past.
In this last case, Rowson is playing on a remarkable image created by a German artist in the wake of a succession of continent-wide sieges of bubonic plague the century before which had killed about 80 percent of the population of his country. Smaller outbreaks were still continuing at the time a German artist created one of the most memorable images in the history of art:
Danse macabre by Michael Wolgemut, teacher of Albrecht Dürer, from folio CCLXI recto of Hartman Schedel’s Historia mundi, printed in Nuremberg in 1493.
The Danse macabre was a frequent motif in Medieval art, with the earliest known instance appearing in a Paris cemetery in 1424, and it has stopped fascinating artists since.
One artist inspired by the dance of death was French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, and his work is one you’re already familiar with, because you’ve heard it on the soundtrack of countless movies.
Saint-Saëns took his inspiration from the poem by Henri Cazalis [1840-1909], translated thusly by Wikipedia:
Zig, zig, zig, Death in cadence,
Striking with his heel a tomb,
Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,
Zig, zig, zig, on his violin.
The winter wind blows and the night is dark;
Moans are heard in the linden-trees.
Through the gloom, white skeletons pass,
Running and leaping in their shrouds.
Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking.
The bones of the dancers are heard to crack-
But hist! of a sudden they quit the round,
They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.
Forthwith, and from the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Euege Ormandy conducting:
Camille Saint-Saëns – Danse Macabre
You can also hear it played by a classical guitar trio, a Finnish accordion maestro, a bass clarinet quartet [and damn, those clarinets are YUGE], and a Korean viola quartet, all all-saxophone orchestra, and a 1930’s Argentine jazz band [grooovy].
Finally, the Danse Macabre itself [not the Saint-Saëns version] also attracted the attention of Walt Disney’s animators way back in 1929.
Enjoy [via Geoffroy Biencourt]:
Silly Symphonies – La Danse Macabre