Death and the Poetic Muse

"I decided to put together the last paper cutout Hans Christian Andersen did with one of the very first drawings from his hand, representing his poetic muse. In Hans Christian Andersen's time, people put a lot of stock in artists having a muse and, in this early drawing, Hans Christian Andersen depicts his muse as a cross between a butterfly and an angel. A symbolic image that Hans Christian Andersen used many times in his later fairy tales. The paper cutout, which Hans Christian Andersen made while on his deathbed, stands in contrast to this. The remarkable thing is that, for the first time in his life, Hans Christian Andersen uses a skull in a paper cutout, even though death was a running theme throughout most of Hans Christian Andersen's works. Thus, the picture illustrates the scope of Hans Christian Andersen's life in as much a temporal sense as in his artistic work. In other words, we encounter Hans Christian Andersen's artistic core in this picture - from his first rough sketch to his final, meticulous formulation."
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