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Path to Paradise panel II

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King of Maggots

1983
23 x 13 in. (58.42 x 33.02 cm)

Judith Schaechter
American

Object Type: Glass
Medium and Support: Stained-glass panel
Credit Line: Private Collection
Accession Number: EX2020.DG1.63
Location: Currently on view
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Schaechter completed this panel—the earliest in the exhibition—when she was twenty-two years old. It was partly inspired by the artist’s interest in transi tombs, a style of carved stone tombs made in the late Gothic period in Europe in which the entombed figure was depicted as a decaying and often gruesome corpse, in its transition from life to death. These figures also found form in illuminated manuscripts as memento mori, warnings or reminders of death.

An image from the Book of Hours of René of Anjou is directly referenced in Schaechter’s panel. The crown worn by the corpse signifies death as the great equalizer. As Schaechter captured in her sketchbook from the period: “King of Maggots . . . Even royalty succumbs to maggots [and] becomes food for worms.”

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