Gross & Tonjola

Gross, Urbis Basil., 1623
Gross, Urbis Basil., 1623
After the Turk, Gross mistakenly includes 2 verses to a satyr.
Gross, the Turk and the satyr
Huldrich Frölich's description of the dance of death along with Scharffenberg's woodcuts were re-published for almost 300 years by the family Mechel and others. But at the same time Frölich's text also survived in another form - i.e. in Johann Georg Gross' "Urbis Basil[iensis], epitaphia et inscriptiones " from 1623.

This book contains (as revealed by the title) the text from all epitaphs and inscriptions in Basel. Frölich's epitaph is on page 41, "Hvldrico Frölich, Poëtæ laureato […] θ. An. M. DC. X. III. Febr.".

Pages 423 to 438 contain the entire text from Basel's dance of death — including the child and the Turk.

Gross has simply copied the dance text from Frölich's »Lobspruch An die Hochloblich unnd Weitberümpte Statt Basel« from 1581. This is obvious because Frölich's book was addressed to an imaginary "satyr", whom he showed around in the city of Basel, and the chapter about the dance of death ends with: »Hiemit die Reüm des Todtentanz, O Satyre sich enden gantz« (= "Hereby, oh Satyr, the rhymes of the dance of death ends totally"). Gross has evidently thought that these 2 lines were a part of the dance of death, and he has copied them along with the rest of the text.

Basilea Sepulta, 1661
Tonjola, Basilea Sepulta
After the death of Gross, publication of the book was taken over by Johann Tonjola, who continued with the publication of Basilea Sepulta — still with the two lines addressing Frölich's satyr.

Gross and Tonjola can't be accused of having done any independent work, but they have helped spreading the text from Basel's dance of death — including the child and the Turk — and thus increased the fame of the painting.


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