Because Tarot was a Triumph of Death, it seems appropriate to post a few Día de los Muertos pictures to celebrate the holidays, along with an introduction to an interesting artist who has created some extraordinary works in this genre.
The L.A. County Fair this year eliminated their traditional outdoor shopping area. I missed one of those sellers in particular: every year they had a big selection of Day of the Dead art and knick-knacks. Everyone knows the great hat lady, Posada’s La Calavera Catrina. Diego Rivera’s Dream of a Sunday in Alameda Park has a version of the Catrina which seems to have a little bit of vampire thrown in, and is also reminiscent a traditional Vanitas.
Another interesting figure from the Día de los Muertos tradition is Santa Muerte. A post on BoingBoing notes some of her charm: "According to an article in The Economist, Santa Muerte has become something of a patron saint in the nation's drug underworld." Images of her are often conflated with Our Lady of Guadalupe, and show her standing on a crescent moon with a full-length radiant nimbus. Among her other assorted attributes are a halo, scythe, globe, and scales. These are typically symbols of sanctity, Death or Time, sovereignty, and Justice respectively.
Recently I encountered an artist named Laurie Lipton. Giornale Nuovo (always worth a visit) did a post on her in 2007. Lipton does lots of disturbing work, and some nice alchemical commissions, but a couple things stand out for me. First is her home page. It’s a deeply sinister take on the Advent Star. I would title it The Antichrist is Coming, or perhaps So This Is How Liberty Dies, but she calls it Delusion Dwellers. (Expand your browser window to full screen to amp up the creepy. I think they're watching Sarah Palin on a JumboTron, or possibly Glenn Beck.) Then there is her Tarot Death Card, an old-school Triumph of Death.
Finally, here is a detail from my favorite, Family Reunion.