chapter  6
14 Pages

Pathways of Dissemination of Artistic Motifs: the Putto and Skull

This chapter concerns the ideology of death and presents an overview of the functional development of tombs and commemorative practices up to, and including, the Renaissance period. It also establishes the innovative nature of funeral monumental sculpture in Poland within the European context. The chapter explores traditional rituals and beliefs about death, the afterlife and commemoration, which have informed and influenced later attitudes on these topics. Establishing the derivation and long history of these beliefs will aid an understanding of the deep-rooted attitudes prevalent in the sixteenth century, particularly with respect to children, and will help to clarify the functions of funeral monuments. This serves to highlight the significance of the Polish genre of child funeral monuments. In the Renaissance, retrospective commemoration by means of funeral monuments was revived and, associated with this, the theme of melancholy meditation appeared.