Stereoscopic Visions of Hell! 11 Nov, 2014 Today, with all the talk of 3d visual technology, it may be easy to forget that the fascination with bringing flat images to life, started well before our own century. Now, this sort of thing doesn’t usually interest me, but mention Hell, skeletons and death and you have my attention! In the 1860’s a series of Stereoscopic images was published in France that, in their own satirical style, represented life in Hell. Created by at least three different artists, these images borrowed heavily from the political goings on of the day. Scenes, depicting all manner of debauchery, were meticulously crafted in clay and then and photographed for viewing through a stereoscope. Stereoscopic images comprise a pair of identical pictures printed side by side which, when viewed through a special viewer or stereoscope, appear to fuse together into one three dimensional image. Honestly, it’s mind-blowing! It appears, from the gestures of the many skeletons represented in Les Diableries, that these works of art were at least partly influenced by the 1538 ‘Danse Macabre’ woodcuts by artist Hans Holbein, as well as similar prints by other artists. Both the earlier prints and the later clay models sit comfortably within a long tradition of showing Death and skeletons as comedic characters. For further information on these ghoulish creations, there is a fantastic book entitled ‘Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell’ by authors Brian May, Denis Pellerin and Paula Richardson Fleming. It can be found on Amazon and I highly recommend it.