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La Calavera-woodblock by Jose Guadalupe Posada

Source: Cornell University Library Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, "The Fantastic in Art and Fiction"


I got this woodcut as a tattoo first for the aesthetics of it--I love how woodcuts translate into tattoos--and then because of the way I'm drawn to death and mortality as portrayed in art, especially memento mori works and art that captures how different people's attitudes towards death that are . That said, those heavier themes are definitely lightened by the cool little guy riding the devil's tail!


On the woodcut artist:

Born in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico, Posada demonstrated an early talent for drawing, taught lithography, and made a living as an illustrator of magazines, books, and commercial products. In 1888 he moved to Mexico City to join the printing shop of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo. It is there that Posada produced thousands of illustrations for popular broadsheets, some dedicated to sensationalistic themes ranging from heinous murders to natural and man-made disasters, and others to daily life in turn-of-the-century Mexico. Posada's imagery was aimed at the urban working classes, shedding light on the struggles of the underdog and the downtrodden while exposing the habits of Mexico's middle and upper class members to his sharp satirical wit. Posada created the bulk of these broadsheets under the regime of the Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz, keeping his satire in check to minimize the risk censorship or imprisonment.

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Taken on September 1, 2009