Bernt Notke: Fragment aus dem Totentanz in der Nikolai Kirche in Tallinn

Dances of Death


The famous Danse macabre des Innocents of Paris, all editions of Holbein's images of Death, but also the little known Dance of Death frescoes in Italian Macra; all of them are listed here. This is the Index of all known Dances of Death being manufactured between 1400 and 1800.

What are Dances of Death? The Dance of Death is an artistic motive, which came into being during the fifteenth century following the urge to reform religious life. It is an work of art, that basically consists of several uniformally constructed scenes. In every scene Death meets a human being, an encounter which marks the last instant of the human addressee's earthly life. This definition is developed and explained more elaborately below Definitionsmerkmale.

This Index strives to offer access to the Dances of Death - which spurred for ages the imagation of many - for all people interested. Furthermore it intended to serve as a source for further research. It should become a focal point for all, who engage in the history of the Dance of Death.

With your help this Index can grow and will ultimately lead to the interdisciplinary encyclopedia of the early Dances of Death. In order to achieve this zealous objective, we are in need of your knowledge, your professional opinions, your remarks and your photographs.


The scientific team of webmasters: dr. Rolf Paul Dreier, drs. Branko van Loon, drs. Frank Santegoets



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