Now that Day of the Dead imagery, sugar skulls and papel picado are so popular they’ve even reached UK shores it’s important (and fascinating) to learn of the origin of the calavera (skeleton figure dressed in clothes, often a well-known figure) as the creation of the Mexican artist Jose Guadelupe Posada. Posada was a printmaker whose work illustrating literary calaveras (short, satirical poems) was hugely popular. He made Dia de los Muertos calaveras for 24 years though many were not attributed to him in his lifetime. Other artists, including Diego Rivera, discovered him later in the century and were influenced by his work.
Bright, stylised illustrations give a real flavour of the way life was in turn-of-the century Mexico City and an insight into the artistic process. 8+