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Skulls - Why we cant live without them?

You can love it, you can loathe it, but the human skull has always fascinated people throughout history, with different cultures using it as a representation of death, mortality and the afterlife.

Ancient Times From ancient times to modern popular culture influences of the skull can be found, and this attraction is a constant inspiration in art, religion and fashion. Going back in time...in ancient cultures, skulls were often used in rituals and worship as a symbol of mortality and the afterlife. In Aztec culture, skulls were used in the Mesoamerican Day of the Dead celebration, a festival honoring the dead and their journey to the afterlife. The calabash, what we know better today as a "sugar skull", were actually skulls made of clay or sugar which were produced using special methods. They are also used on the Catholic holiday "All Souls' Day" and you can find such skulls even today on the "Day of the Living Dead" which is celebrated around the world by the Mexican community, and they are given to children or as an offering to the next world. In Tibetan Buddhism, skull cups were used in rituals to symbolize the impermanence of life and the transcendence of death. Danse Macarbe “The Dance of Death” A popular artistic motif at the time, where you can find artwork depicting skulls and skeletons as a reminder of death and the inevitability of mortality and the universality of death. The central idea behind the Danse Macabre is the personification of death, depicted as a skeleton or a skeletal figure, leading people from all walks of life in a dance to the grave. These artworks often features a series of images or scenes, portraying various individuals, including kings, queens, nobles, clergy, peasants, and even children, dancing hand in hand with the skeletal death figure. These depictions symbolize the inevitability of death and the transient nature of human existence. Emerging during times of plague, famine, and other societal crises, serving as a powerful memento mori, or a reminder of mortality. It was used as a reflection on the impermanence of life and the need for spiritual contemplation and repentance. And without a doubt Danse Macabre has left a lasting impact on Western art and culture, inspiring numerous artworks, poems, plays, and musical compositions. It remains a significant historical representation of how medieval and Renaissance societies grappled with the concept of death and the impermanence of life. During the Renaissance, skulls were also used in art and literature as a symbol of the transience of life. The phrase "memento mori" which originates from the Latin "remember that you die" became a popular theme in the artwork of the time, with skulls often appearing as a reminder of the transitory nature of existence In the Victorian period, the fascination with skulls continued, with the appearance of the "cult of the dead" in popular culture. Mourning jewelry featuring skulls and other symbols of death has become popular, with people wearing pendants containing hair or teeth of their deceased loved ones as a way to keep them close In modern times Skulls in modern times serves as a versatile and powerful symbol, capable of conveying a wide range of emotions, ideas, and messages. It continues to inspire and challenge artists and audiences, making it an enduring and relevant theme in the world. And with the emergence of popular culture trends such as Gothic and punk fashion that incorporate skulls as a symbol of rebellion and non-conformity, skulls are used in everything from clothing to jewelry to bags, and can be found at Paris and New York Fashion Week when designers like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood incorporate skulls into their collections.

In popular culture, skulls continue to be a prominent symbol in movies, music, and video games. The pirate flag with a skull and crossbones has become an iconic symbol of piracy, while the horror film genre often features skulls as a symbol of death and horror.

In music, the skull has been used as a symbol of rebellion and counterculture, with bands like

The Grateful Dead and the Misfits incorporate it into their logos and album artwork.

And what about real skulls? As noted before in Victorian Times, real human remains has been used in jewelry, Today using real human or animal skulls in art can raise ethical and legal concerns. Many countries have laws and regulations surrounding the use of human remains, and it is generally discouraged to use real skulls for artistic purposes, due to issues related to cultural sensitivity, respect for the deceased, and potential legal concerns. As such, the use of real human skulls in contemporary art is exceptionally rare. However, you can find artists (like me) who incorporate real animal skulls into their work, and resource them ethically. And this art form is gaining momentum among many artists.

In conclusion Humans have been drawn to skulls that reminders of our mortality since the beginning of times, And the attraction to skulls in the past, present and probably in the future will not stop, and the skull will continue to occupy the image of people around the world. Famous artists who practiced the art of the "dance of death" Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) - The German artist created a series of woodcuts depicting the Dance of Death, which became highly influential during the Renaissance period.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) - The Flemish Renaissance painter is known for his painting "The Triumph of Death," which features a macabre scene depicting death claiming victims from all walks of life.

Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901) - The Swiss Symbolist painter created a series of paintings titled "Toteninsel" (Isle of the Dead), which portrays a boat carrying the deceased to the afterlife.

James Ensor (1860-1949) - The Belgian artist was fascinated by the macabre and often incorporated skeletons and death-related themes into his works.

Egon Schiele (1890-1918) - The Austrian Expressionist artist explored themes of death and mortality in his intense and emotionally charged works.

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) - The Spanish Surrealist artist depicted death and decay in various paintings, often combining bizarre and dreamlike elements.

Keith Haring (1958-1990) - The American artist, known for his graffiti-inspired art, created works that often touched on themes of mortality and the AIDS epidemic. Famous Artists who uses animal skulls Georgia O'Keeffe - The American artist used animal skulls as subjects in some of her paintings, like the famous work "Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue," which depicts a cow's skull in the desert landscape.

Louise Nevelson - The American sculptor often included found objects, including animal bones and driftwood, in her assemblage sculptures.

Lisa Black - An Australian artist known for using animal bones and skulls in her intricate and ethereal sculptures.

Ali Cavanaugh - This American artist has incorporated bird skulls and feathers into some of her striking and delicate watercolor paintings Some of my creations with skulls Crying Skull A Matter of Life and Death - a real cat skull "Pot Head" - planter


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