Debout les Morts! [Arise, the Dead!], plate 54 from Miserere
64.8 cm x 50 cm (25 1/2 in. x 19 11/16 in.)
(Paris, 1871 - 1958, Paris)
Medium and Support:
Sugarlift aquatint, roulette, and drypoint over photogravure
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, University Purchase, 1961
Rouault, an ardent Roman Catholic, links the miseries of the poor, the lonely, the humble, and the complaisance of vice to the inescapable day of reckoning in his masterpiece of printmaking, the series entitled Miserère. In this series of fifty-eight complex intaglio prints, the subjects represent archetypes of evil indulged or suffered. Christ appears as the mistreated and suffering Christ, who heals humankind through his wounds. This emphasis on original sin and a humanity fallen from the grace of God is underscored by an awareness of death throughout. It is through suffering and death that there is redemption. This image of the dead rising at the end of time is both fearsome and necessary for the human condition in Rouault’s intensely pious world.