Andy Warhol – Skulls 1976
Jane Daggett Dillenberger claims that Warhol’s Skulls are inspired by the “Momento Mori” and the Renaissance paintings. The artist’s own characteristics are juxtaposed with the skull in order to create different emotions. One could argue that the grimacing skulls are laughing or mimicking at the spectator, which allows one to contemplate upon their own mortality.
Dillenberger also refers to this particular image on the bottom, which features a skull on top of the artist’s head, which almost appears to be interacting with Warhol himself. Perhaps Warhol also questioning his own presence within the ‘postmodern culture’, which is also theorised within Dillenberger’s text who also explains that the image also features religious connotations.
Dillenberger also questions the representation of the skull within christianity and the author also mentions that the skull often appears at “the foot of the cross”. According to Dillenberger’s publication the artist’s own encounters with death such as his sick father and the shooting has influence the nature of Warhol’s work. (Jane Dagget Dillenberger, The Religious Art of Andy Warhol p.77)
One could argue that the use of complimentary colours and the skull’s animated expressions may feature similarities to the Mexican sugar skulls, which also feature similar colours or visual aesthetics.
Andy Warhol Self Portrait with Skull, 1978
Dillenberger, Jane. D. Religious Art of Andy Warhol. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1998.