Grand Dance Macabre, Troyes, 17th century

Noël Moreau dit le Coq, 1610
Moreau, Moreau 1610
The authority
Moreau, l'Aucteur

On the previous page we saw how Nicolas Oudot published a Danse Macabre in Troyes ca. 1600, using the original woodcuts from Paris.

The book to the left was published a few years later in the same town by Noël Moreau dit le Coq, but all the woodcuts are copies of the Parisian blocks. This is also true for the four cadaver musicians on the front page that we have known and loved since 1486. They are copied with skill and detail, but when compared with the original, it's clearly a rough copy. The pillars at the sides and the arcades above have been removed.

The exemplar that belongs Harvard's library (see external link) has been misbound, and the G-sheet (i.e. eight pages) has been placed before the D-sheet. The result is that just when the dead king and the authority are about to finish the men's dance, the story is interrupted by five pages of the women's dance and three pages of La dance aux aveugles.

Apart from this defect the content is identical to those publications that Troyes had known ever since Nicolas le Rouge brought the original Parisian woodcuts to the town at the beginning of the 1500s. If we compare Noël Moreau's 1610-edition with Nicolas le Rouge's 1531-edition, they both contain:

The greatest differences are with the little stock images towards the end of the book, which the publisher seems to have regarded as "fillers" with one religious stock image being as good as another.

In fact it is odd how closely Moreau has copied the 1531-edition. If we instead look at the book Nicolas Oudot published ca. 1600, i.e. only ca. 10 years before Moreau's book, the differences are far greater: »Le debat du Corps & de l'Ame« has been printed more compactly and only takes up six pages instead of nine; 11 ekstra lines are added to the »Exhortation de bien viure« by "l'Autheur"; an extra chapter is added: »Les signes precedens du iugemens general« (not to be confused with »Quinze signes« or »Le iugement«); and at the end there are 1½ pages with »Dictions et proverbs«.

So Moreau's book is quite identical to the 1531-edition. But the woodcuts are copies and particularly those in the beginning are quite good.

Nicolas II Oudot (1616-1692)

Troyes, 1641
Nicolas Oudot, Title

The book on the left was published by Nicolas Oudot, but in all probability it's not the same Nicolas Oudot, who published the original woodcuts ca. 1600. Presumably the previous book was published by Nicolas I Oudot (ca. 1565-1636), while the present book was published in 1641 by the son, Nicolas II Oudot (1616-1692).

But it is not only Nicolas Oudot, who has changed. The woodcuts have been replaced by those that Noël Moreau had published in 1610, and the address is the one Moreau used to have: Ruë nostre Dame, à l'Enseigne du Coq, ("The Street of Our Lady at the sign with the rooster"). Bibliothèque nationale de France guesses that Nicolas II Oudot has been the son-in-law of Noël Moreau since he could take over workshop and materials.(1)

Nicolas Oudot, Author

However, this doesn't explain what happened to the old Parisian woodcuts, and there is one exception: The authority (picture to the right) is the original woodcut from 1491, but compared with the original image, the top, right corner and the entire right side has been replaced. The pillar has been moved left.

As mentioned two woodcuts had been missing since 1531, and these are still missing in this version. Noël Moreau and Nicolas II Oudot have not been able to copy those woodcuts that had disappeared.


But this is only the beginning for the books were reprinted for many years to come in Troyes by the heirs of Oudot

around 1700

Nicolas Oudot 1641: Title
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Author
Four musicians
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Four musicians
Pope and emperor
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Pope and emperor
Cardinal and king
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Cardinal and king
Legate and duke
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Legate and duke
Patriarch and Connétable
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Patriarch and Connétable
Archbishop and knight
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Archbishop and knight
Bishop and nobleman
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Bishop and nobleman
Abbot and bailiff
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Abbot and bailiff
Astrologer and citizen
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Astrologer and citizen
Canon and merchant
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Canon and merchant
Schoolmaster and soldier
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Schoolmaster and soldier
Carthusian and sergeant
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Carthusian and sergeant
Monk and usurer
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Monk and usurer
Physician and suitor
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Physician and suitor
Lawyer and minstrel
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Lawyer and minstrel
Priest and peasant
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Priest and peasant
Promoter and jailor
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Promoter and jailor
Pilgrim and shepherd
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Pilgrim and shepherd
Franciscan monk and child
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Franciscan monk and child
Clerk and hermit
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Clerk and hermit
Halberdier and fool
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Halberdier and fool
Three living
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Three living
Three dead
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Three dead
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Authority
Four musicians
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Four musicians
Queen and duchess
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Queen and duchess
Ruler and knight's wife
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Ruler and knight's wife
Prioress and young woman
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Prioress and young woman
Shepherdess and crutches
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Shepherdess and crutches
Citizeness and widow
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Citizeness and widow
Merchant's and bailiff's wife
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Merchant's and bailiff's wife
Bride and darling wife
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Bride and darling wife
Virgin and theologianess
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Virgin and theologianess
Newly-wed and pregnant
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Newly-wed and pregnant
Chambermaid and housekeeper
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Chambermaid and housekeeper
Hospitable woman and wet nurse
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Hospitable woman and wet nurse
Peasant woman and old woman
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Peasant woman and old woman
Resales woman and suitoress
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Resales woman and suitoress
Midwife and young girl
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Midwife and young girl
Nun and witch
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Nun and witch
Bigot woman and fool
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Bigot woman and fool

External links

Further Information

Footnotes: (1)

»Nicolas II Oudot, son gendre (?), reprend son atelier et son matériel«.

Up to danse macabre