La danse Macabre, Paris, 1485

The emperor
Marchand 1485
The end
Marchand 1485

The first person to print and illustrate the dance of death from the cemetery in St. Innocents, Paris, was Guyot Marchant.

The book contained those 67 verses that we know from the old manuscripts like for instance Lille MS. 139. The large, masterly woodcuts were created by Pierre le Rouge.

Only one copy of this book has survived and this copy is unfortunately lacking the title page and most of the first leaf, but there's sufficient enough remaining to see that one side has depicted the authority (without Latin texts over the woodcut) and that the other side has featured the pope and emperor.

This first edition only contains the author/authority in the introduction, the 30 men, and the dead king and the authority at the end (picture to the right). It wasn't before the next year that Guyot Marchant added the four musicians, 10 men more, a series of women and Latin quotes over each woodcut.

The picture to the right shows the end with the dead king and the authority, and as one can see there are only three verses (followed by the colophon). The next year Guyot Marchant added another verse beginning: »Bon y fait penser soir et main«.

The book ends by telling that it was printed by Guyot Marchant the 28th September 1485: »Cy finit la danse macabre imprimee par ung nomme guy marchant demorant au grant hostel du college de nauarre en champ gaillart a paris Le vinthuitiesme iour de septembre Mil quatre cent quatre vingz et cinq«.

The following woodcuts are from a later edition. Some of them were created for the 1486-edition.

Guy Marchant 1486: Authority
Guy Marchant 1486: Musicians
Pope and emperor
Guy Marchant 1486: Pope and emperor
Cardinal and king
Guy Marchant 1486: Cardinal and king
Legate and duke
Guy Marchant 1486: Legate and duke
Patriarch and constable
Guy Marchant 1486: Patriarch and constable
Archbishop and knight
Guy Marchant 1486: Archbishop and knight
Bishop and esquire
Guy Marchant 1486: Bishop and esquire
Abbot and bailiff
Guy Marchant 1486: Abbot and bailiff
Astrologer and citizen
Guy Marchant 1486: Astrologer and citizen
Canon and merchant
Guy Marchant 1486: Canon and merchant
Schoolmaster and soldier
Guy Marchant 1486: Schoolmaster and soldier
Carthusian and sergeant
Guy Marchant 1486: Carthusian and sergeant
Monk and usurer
Guy Marchant 1486: Monk and usurer
Physician and suitor
Guy Marchant 1486: Physician and suitor
Lawyer and minstrel
Guy Marchant 1486: Lawyer and minstrel
Parish priest and peasant
Guy Marchant 1486: Parish priest and peasant
Promoter and jailor
Guy Marchant 1486: Promoter and jailor
Pilgrim and shepherd
Guy Marchant 1486: Pilgrim and shepherd
Franciscan monk and child
Guy Marchant 1486: Franciscan monk and child
Clerk and hermit
Guy Marchant 1486: Clerk and hermit
Halberdier and fool
Guy Marchant 1486: Halberdier and fool
Authority and dead king
Guy Marchant 1486: Authority and dead king
Three living
Guy Marchant 1486: Three living
Three dead
Guy Marchant 1486: Three dead
Guy Marchant 1486: Women
Chorea ab Eximio
Guy Marchant 1490: Chorea ab Eximio
Chorea ab Eximio
Guy Marchant 1490: Chorea ab Eximio
Authority 1491
Guy Marchant 1491: Authority 1491
Guy Marchant 1491: Musicians

Further information

External links