Saturday, September 10, 2011

Zombie Architecture

For jaded art historians today, the plot of Hans Baldung Grien's "Burnt Offerings" painting sequence is predictable. Just like in Dürer's "The Haunting" or Altdorfer's "The Shining".

You can tell that all these painters had suffered the experience of buying a first home of the sort described by realty agents as "A home handyman's dream".

Wholesome young family, needing short-term accommodation, sign lease on an old building in ruinous state. Any personal injuries they suffer -- and the longer they stay there, the more of these occur -- are repaid with improvements in the building, as if it is draining their life-force.

Nasty hand injury
Obviously their attempts to move out will be thwarted. Eventually they will die and add to the parade of ghosts already haunting the now-rejuvenated building, while it casts around for its next victims.

This was pretty scary stuff back in the Northern Renaissance when people didn't know what to expect. Also, nice orbs!

It is also interesting that Baldung Grien painted this 'vampire building' with the same visual signifiers of decay -- fascia peeling away from red rawness underneath -- that he used for human zombies. This in turn is based on the late mediæval iconography of the transi, which is SHUT UP SMUT


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Round faced lady, snake bites zombie.

I can read French!

Whale Chowder said...

What's most disturbing about that last image is the apparent unconcern of the round-faced lady in the face (heh) of a zombie, a snake and a rabid weasel (btw, how was M. Bouffant anticipated by hundreds of years?).

In researching this, I found the origin of the term Zombie Jesus.

Another Kiwi said...

Some observations:
Our house is not one of the "Sucking the life force" houses since it gets decrepit at the same rate as us. We should have read the contract more carefully.
Oliver Reed is in that film and didn't die in it or throw up on anyone? I don't think so.
Karen Black = Hot.
In the hole in Jebus's hand picture. Why was it necessary to put in a boy stealing the family soup? Narrative drive?
Are Mary and Joseph aware of the feral babies around the crib? Do they even care? They don't look like good parents to me.
The Donkey just farted and him and the ox are laughing about it.

Another Kiwi said...

Also, which window in the sucking the life force house is the screamy window?

Smut Clyde said...

Attic window. It's always an attic window.

Another Kiwi said...

"Behind the locked door, something lives, something strange, something evil, something from which no one returns"

Does Mrs.Spat get royalties from this movie?

Smut Clyde said...

There was defenestration.
As opposed to defencestration, which ZRM is suffering from.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Round faced lady, snake bites zombie.

I heard this in Joe Strummer's voice.