José Guadalupe Posada
"Calavera de la Catrina"José Guadalupe Posada (2
February 1851 – 20 January 1913) was a Mexican engraver and illustrator.
He was born in the city of Aguascalientes, where he learned the art of
lithography and, by 1871, was working for a local newspaper called El
Jicote ("The Hornet"). After a few years, he eventually joined the staff
of the Mexico City publishing firm of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, creating
various book covers and illustrations. Much of his work was also published
in sensationalistic broadsides depicting various current events.
Posada's best known works are his calaveras, or skeletons, which often
assume various costumes, such as the Calavera de la Catrina, the "Skeleton
of the Female Dandy", which was meant to satirize the life of the upper
classes during the reign of Porfirio Díaz. This figures is often depicted
wearing a hat with a large (ostrich) feather. Most of his imagery
was meant to make a religious or satirical point. Since his death,
however, his images have become associated with the Mexican holiday Día de
los Muertos, the "Day of the Dead". They draw on medieval art traditions
of the danse macabre and Native American motifs.
Largely forgotten by the end of his life, Posada's engravings were brought
to a wider audience in the 1920s by the French artist Jean Charlot, who
encountered them while visiting Diego Rivera. While Posada died in
poverty, his images are well known today as examples of folk art. The
muralist José Clemente Orozco knew Posada when he was young, and credited
Posada's work as an influence on his own.
"José Guadalupe Posada." The Columbia Electronic
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press., 2003. Answers.com
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