“The Danse Macabre (from the French language), also called the Dance of Death, is an artistic genre of allegory of the Late Middle Ages on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the Danse Macabre unites all.
The Danse Macabre consists of the dead or a personification of death summoning representatives from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and laborer. It was produced as memento mori, to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of earthly life. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest recorded visual scheme was a now-lost mural at Holy Innocents’ Cemetery in Paris dating from 1424 to 1425. The danse macabre urges us all not to forget the end of all earthly things. The danse macabre was enacted at village pageants and at court masques, with people dressing up as corpses (present day, zombies) from various strata of society, and may have been the origin of costumes worn during Allhallowtide.”
The Association “Danses macabres d’Europe” (DME) was founded in France in 1987; study groups were subsequently created in Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
DME has organized several international congresses in France as well as other countries; its first congress took place at Clusone (Lombardy) en 1987, and was followed by the congresses held at Chartres (1988), Kientzheim (Alsace) in 1990, Straubing (Bavaria) in 1992, Füssen (Bavaria) in 1995, Kassel (Hesse) in 1998, Vendôme in 2000, Rouen in 2003, Gand in partnership with the city’s University in 2005, Metnitz (Carinthia, Austria) in 2007, Sibiu (Romania) organised by the University of Bucharest in2010, Chartres in 2012, Turin – organised by the city’s University in 2014, Troyes –organised by the Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne and the Médiathèque du Grand Troyes in 2016, Paris, in 2019, organised in partnership with the Mazarine Library and Sainte-Geneviève Library.
THEMATIC AXES OF THE 19th CONGRESS:
1. The longue durée of the Danse macabre and of macabre art in general;
2. The violence of death: dangers, pitfalls, fears. Literary and artistic imagery;
3. Death and its loci. Funerary sites, anthropological fields.
The Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest (Romania): https://litere.ro/
Association Danses macabres d’Europe (DME – France): www.danses-macabres-europe.org
“Dance Macabre” is a song by Swedish rock band Ghost. It was their second single off of their fourth studio album “Prequelle” (2019):
“Death Dance” is the second single from alternative metal band Sevendust‘s eleventh studio album, “Kill the Flaw” (2016):