Thy Grief (2022)

The Judgement: Linoplate
Thy Grief, Judgment Day
The Judgement: Finished print
Thy Grief, Judgment Day

Thy Grief was born in Russia in 1998. His copies of Holbein's Great Dance of Death are from 2022 and thus the supremely newest in this section on Holbein imitators.

Thy Grief reproduces the woodcuts as linoleum cuts, measuring 210 × 148 mm. The prints are copies of Holbein's so-called printers' proofs with English headings instead of German. Some of the motifs, e.g. the Waggoner, are not among the proofs, and therefore Thy Grief has had to make do with poorer scans.

The motifs are easy to see in the photos of the plates he posts online, and the raw plates are amost more interesting than the finished prints. The plates appear clear and distinct because the photos were taken before the first ink had been applied.

The copies are extremely meticulous. Other copyists, such as Joseph Schlotthauer, Vincenzo Valgrisi and De doodt vermaskert also present close copies, but in this case, every little line has been copied. I asked Thy Grief how he copies the scenes, and the answer was:

The printer transfer technique is quite simple. You prepare your digital sketch of your linocut, then print it with any laser-printer, after that you lay the printed sketch face downwards on your plate (so the sketch touches the linoleum). And then you transfer it by clothes iron until the sketch comes off paper and transfers to your plate. After that you remove the paper and welcome to carve!
(Thy Grief. Personal Correspondence)

The scene with Judgment Day was the one that cost the most work: »The hardest one was definitely The Judgement: a lot of lines, a lot of tiny details, a lot of work :)«.

I only present a selection here but the full series can be seen at his Instagram account. He has not included Death's escutcheon, the young man and the young woman — and the order of presentation is original. It's not the same sequence as in Holbein's proofs or in the printed books.

My vision differs from Holbein's a little bit. Holbein starts with the highest of society, like pope and emperor, but I instead started with society's weakest and let the death slowly walk up the social hierarchy to take those in power who sometimes think that even the death couldn't get to them. I also grouped people by their social class and placed them in hierarchical order from bottom to top: slum-dwellers and criminals, peasants, merchants and townpeople, militarymen and nobles, and, finally, ecclesiasticals. I did not make the escutscheon of death print because in my vision the death is not a noble, but a great equalizer of us all: both those who are in misery and those who are in power.
(Thy Grief. Personal Correspondence)

External Link

Prints and plates

Creation
Thy Grief 2022: Creation
Creation
Thy Grief 2022: Creation
The fall
Thy Grief 2022: The fall
The fall
Thy Grief 2022: The fall
The Expulsion
Thy Grief 2022: The Expulsion
The Expulsion
Thy Grief 2022: The Expulsion
After the Fall
Thy Grief 2022: After the Fall
After the Fall
Thy Grief 2022: After the Fall
The Bones of All Men
Thy Grief 2022: The Bones of All Men
The Bones of All Men
Thy Grief 2022: The Bones of All Men
Cardinal
Thy Grief 2022: Cardinal
Cardinal
Thy Grief 2022: Cardinal
Usurer
Thy Grief 2022: Usurer
Usurer
Thy Grief 2022: Usurer
Peasant
Thy Grief 2022: Peasant
Peasant
Thy Grief 2022: Peasant
Judgment Day
Thy Grief 2022: Judgment Day
Judgment Day
Thy Grief 2022: Judgment Day
Waggoner
Thy Grief 2022: Waggoner
Waggoner
Thy Grief 2022: Waggoner
Beggar
Thy Grief 2022: Beggar
Beggar
Thy Grief 2022: Beggar

Other interpreters of Holbein's dance of death

Artists/publishers:

Hans Holbein (1526) - so-called proofs
Hans Holbein (1538) - the originals
Heinrich Aldegrever (1541)
Heinrich Vogtherr (1544)
Vincenzo Valgrisi (1545)
Arnold Birckmann (1555)
Juan de Icíar (1555)
Valentin Wagner (1557)
Jiří Melantrich (1563)
Georg Scharffenberg (1576)
Leonhart Straub (1581)
David Chytraeus (1590)
Peter Paul Rubens (ca. 1590)
Fabio Glissenti (1596)
Eberhard Kieser (1617)
Rudolf and Conrad Meyer (1650)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1651)
De doodt vermaskert (1654)
Thomas Neale (1657)
Johann Weichard von Valvasor (1682)
Erbaulicher Sterb-Spiegel (1704)
Salomon van Rusting (1707)
T. Nieuhoff Piccard (1720)
Christian de Mechel (1780)
David Deuchar (1788)
John Bewick (1789)
Alexander Anderson (1810)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1816)
"Mr. Bewick" (1825)
Ludwig Bechstein (1831)
Joseph Schlotthauer (1832)
Francis Douce (1833)
Carl Helmuth (1836)
Francis Douce (1858, 2. edition)
Henri Léon Curmer (1858)
Tindall Wildridge (1887)
→ Thy Grief (2022) ←

Thy Grief's linocuts are copies of the so-called "proofs" by Holbein.
Holbein Proofs, Judgment Day

Footnotes: (1)

»According to Hugo they were destroyed by fire shortly after the publication of 1825« (page 32).

The right year is probably 1803, and it seems that Thy Grief has conflated the genuine Bewick with with the fake Bewick that Wright published in the Portfolio in 1825: »Mr. Wright declares, in connection with these cuts, that "expense is an object which is never regarded in supporting the character of the Portfolio"«.

However this doesn't affect my argument: that Wildridge is not trying to pass the 11 woodcuts off as genuine Bewick.