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The end-Not for the Faint of Heart
Ghastly caricature of Madero from the School of Posada
Muy Raro

172. POSADA, José Guadalupe (school of). La gran calavera. Este cráneo singular-verdades puede enseñar. N.p., [1913]. Broadside printed on recto and verso, full sheet, 36 x 27 cm, type-metal engraving printed in black on tan paper. Verso: Continuation of the poem from recto, plus La calavera de artesanos, half sheet (image measures 12 x 22 cm, type-metal engraving with Posada’s engraved signature. Lower edge chipped and damaged with some loss of text, two small tears at upper edge, moderate damage from worm holes, one tear at lower edge, paper browned and fragile. Needs immediate conservation.

     Tyler, Posada’s Mexico, #166, p. 252: “This [La gran calavera] is one of the more famous prints attributed to Posada but almost surely not by him. The caricature is of Madero, and the text describes the worms that eat his flesh. Overthrown in February 1913, Madero was ‘shot while trying to escape,’ the time-honored application of the ley fuga. Gen. Victoriano Huerto engineered the murder and paved his own way to the presidency. Since Posada had died in January, before the uprising that resulted in Madero’s death, he would not have witnessed the occasion for such a caricature of Madero”; # 184, p. 266 (describing image on verso): “A bitter comment on the futile lives of poor workers.... The print shows a circle of artisans. In the front are a tailor, a cobbler, and a coffin-maker, and in the back, a hat maker and a carpenter. In the back are two small calaveras in the upper left and right corners. One holds a spade, indicating that he is a ditch digger or, in the connotation of the calavera, a grave-digger, and the other is a house-painter. All the artisans have their jaws open as if they are crying out, complaining of their lot.”


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