01 Work, CONTEMPORARY Interpretation of the Bible! Joel-Peter Witkin’s Ars Moriendi, with Footnotes – #50

Joel-Peter Witkin, (American, 1939-)
Ars Moriendi, c. 2007

Tirage argentique
66 x 71 cm
Private collection

Joel-Peter Witkin is known for his grotesquely beautiful photographs that explore themes of death, religion, and the experience of being socially outcast. Witkin stages surrealistic scenes with cadavers, skeletons, and dismembered body parts so they recall Classical paintings and religious imagery. More on this work

The Ars moriendi (“The Art of Dying”) are two related Latin texts dating from about 1415 and 1450 which offer advice on the protocols and procedures of a good death, explaining how to “die well” according to Christian precepts of the late Middle Ages. It was very popular, and was the first in a western literary tradition of guides to death and dying.

There was originally a “long version” and a later “short version” containing eleven woodcut pictures as instructive images which could be easily explained and memorized. More on Ars moriendi

Joel-Peter Witkin (born September 13, 1939) is an American photographer. His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses, and various outsiders such as dwarves, transsexuals, intersex persons, and physically deformed people. Witkin’s complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or classical paintings.

Witkin’s parents divorced when he was young. In 1961 Witkin enlisted in the United States Army with the intention of capturing war photography during the Vietnam war. However, Witkin never saw combat in Vietnam and spent his military time at Fort Hood, Texas, and was mostly in charge of Public Information and classified photos. In 1967, he became the official photographer for City Walls Inc. He attended Cooper Union in New York, where he studied sculpture, attaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. Columbia University granted him a scholarship for graduate school, but his Master of Fine Arts degree is from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque  More Joel-Peter Witkin

Please visit my other blogs: Art CollectorMythologyMarine ArtPortrait of a Lady, The OrientalistArt of the Nude and The Canals of VeniceMiddle East Artists365 Saints and 365 Days, also visit my Boards on Pinterest

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Author: Zaidan Art Blog

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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