Beautiful. I'd like to see the entire place, because I see autumnal leaves and a symbol of human death, and rather than think sin/sinner/damnation, I think "inevitable death", as if the intent of the artist was to bring a kind of sobriety to the otherwise retributive religiosity. That's one portal we're all going to pass through.
Its absolutely darling. Such emotive angst.
Is that one of Portals like in a Dan Brown Novel that leads to a pit of bones and corpses?
I remember reading that this sort of motif was popular in the 14th to 17th centuries because of the black plague. Death had been so widespread, swift and indiscriminate (affecting rich and poor and people of all backgrounds alike) that everyone was coping with having its shadow constantly looming over them. That notion was reflected in artwork where skeletons were often depicted cavorting with the living or looming behind portraits of young, healthy-looking people.
It reminds me of a lot of Grateful Dead dancing skeleton art.
Rather than reaching up to pull you down to the netherworld, the dancing skeleton's arms are raised in ecstatic celebration of an otherworldly psychedelic experience.
I think there actually was a Grateful Dead poster or something using this image, no?
It should probably be seen also with the context that the Ecstasy of St. Theresa rises above it in the same chapel, which is a pretty fleshly depiction of saintly ecstasy. So I'd take it more in the "nature of flesh" sense than the "snatching sinners into hell" sense. Plus this was a chapel that was used by the actual family who commissioned it (somewhere in the chapel Cornaro himself is sculpted) so reminders that all flesh meets the same destiny are typical for the time, but would also serve to heighten the sense of divinity surrounding the sculpture.
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