Instadeath : Knight, Death, and the Devil

7:00 AM

Knight, Death, and the Devil
Curated by Alex McDonald

Albrecht Durer, Knight, Death, and the Devil, 1513

*Curator’s Note: The paintings within this collection were taken by the author to be the artwork for the album covers of a fictional metal band called Instadeath. The following are Instadeath’s linear notes for their second album, 1513 A.D.

Lead Vocals, Lead Bass Guitar-Jacques Padavona
Lead Guitar, Backup Vocals-Tony Koontz
Rhythm Guitar, Backup Vocals-Johnny “Bloody” Valentine
Drums, And Nothing Else-Jackie Sack
Produced by Instadeath and Bob Frost

Instadeath would like to thank: their loving families who did nothing in particular except kick them out of the house as soon as they turned 18 (except for Sack’s Mom, who would always let the band crash in her basement and was happy to provide Oreos and V8 Juice), a group of young, angry people who continue to buy Instadeath albums, and Danzig for making the greatest album of all time, Lucifuge (1990).

Finally, Instadeath would like to thank Albrecht Durer and his estate for allowing Knight, Death, and the Devil to fall into the public domain. It would not have been possible for the band to use this image otherwise. Koontz would like to add that he appreciates Durer for starting the crazy German tradition.  Koontz, being a community college dropout and having more experience in academia than his band mates, theorizes German folklore and Protestantism are the primary influences for Durer’s work. In fact, Durer balances the two in Knight, Death, and the Devil.

Death, holding an hour glass, lurks to the Knight’s left. Death does not resemble the stereotypical scythe wielding grim reaper or ghostly angel of death. Instead, he looks like the reanimated remains of a German lord. Notice also Death’s gaze. He looks directly at a sickly, biped boar named Satan. These are Christian figures morphed to resemble the creatures of old German fairy tales.

Now please turn your attention to the Knight because he seems doomed. A village lies beyond the mountains. Whether the Knight has just left the village or is heading towards the village one cannot say, but it does not matter. Durer has placed large rocks in between the Knight and the village, compositionally cutting him off from safety. Then Death and the Devil are on each side of the Knight, creating barriers that trap him in the foreground of the painting. Also notice Death’s horse leaning his head towards the ground. This cuts off the Knight’s horse from running away. Instead of painting a cage, Durer created a composition that was a cage.

So, when you listen to 1513 A.D. feel trapped. Koontz is semi-educated and knows his paintings. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but all in all the riffs and power chords of 1513 A.D. were made to imprison your soul.

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