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Symbolism and The death of the Grave-Digger

Updated on September 11, 2011
The death of the grave-digger by Carlos Schwabe
The death of the grave-digger by Carlos Schwabe

Symbolism was style in poetry and arts originated in France,Russia and Belgium at the end of nineteenth century. It was reaction against naturalism, realism and the anti-idealistic styles that portrayed common life and humble themes. Carlos Schwabe was a German-Austrian symbolist painter. He painted "The death of the Grave-digger" (1895) after one of his friends died and he grow interested in depicting death and mourning.

The death of grave-Digger calls my attention over and over again, perhaps is the scene of how death came unexpected to the grave digger. Perhaps is the perspective of the head stones in the background, so many details that makes this so interesting.

it reminds me vaggely to one of my childhood favorite cartoons "Sailor moon" in which the bad guys used to steal people's souls and souls looked like a cristal in a ball of light. The willow's branches all around the two characters seem to invade and conceal this scene. I like the winter setting of this painting meaning clearly death as well. Everything in the death of the grave digger seems to flow around one subject alone, death. It happens in a cemetery, to a grave digger in winter. No witnesses except the head stones covered in snow.

The drama is in motion, the Grave-digger's hands dropping the shovel, the Death angel raising her hands, lowering her eyes to the dying Grave-digger. Both seemed to stare at each other eyes, one agony and the the other in serenity.

it is a gloomy subject but so perfectly executed that staring at it do not make me sad but just curious about how life ends and the search of giving it meaning beyond itself.


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    • LorenAyBe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Belgium

      Thank you, Epigramman! your words are a great compliment. I think writing is about sharing knowledge and by sharing knowledge we make the world richer in culture.

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago are quite the (hub) teacher - love your analysis and your passion and love of art - certainly you could teach in all of the virtual classrooms in the cyber universe with your writing .....

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