An Amusing Display of Death: La calavera de Cupido

By Alana Coates
January 2012

Broadsides such as José Guadalupe Posada’s La calavera de Cupido were typically printed around the annual November 2nd celebrations of the Day of the Dead. Calaveras satirize the living in terms of the dead. The origins of calaveras such as this can be traced through the study of the Danza Macabra, Memento Mori, and 18th century illustrated books such as La portentous vida de la merte mexicana. In addition to a close look at the latter in relation to calaveras, I will examine the significance of the clothing, or lack of clothing, that adorns skeletons, and how this attire was sued to personify type, action, and rank.

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