Broadsides & Calaveras

Broadsides and Calaveras

In 2014, the Miami University Art Museum purchased a collection of 25 broadsides illustrated by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913). Featured in this exhibition are 18 of these pieces. It is estimated that Posada produced more than 20,000 illustrations during his 42-year career.

Mexican newspapers achieved prominence with society’s elite during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Illustrated broadsides, on the other hand, were popular with the lower socio-economic populace. Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, the most noted publisher of broadsides in Mexico City, produced news and stories akin to those found in modern sensationalized tabloids. It was Posada who made the broadsides a visual feast.

Posada touched on a variety of subjects, including politics, news and current events, religion and obituaries. He is best known for his illustrations of skeletons, or calaveras, which refer to poems accompanied by images of skeletal figures used to critique the social elite and political leaders of the day. Poems acted as satirical commentary dedicated to those still living, while the calaveras represented the notion that everyone is equal in death, regardless of wealth and social status. Together, these works demonstrate the richness of Posada’s visual commentary on modern life in Mexico during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Opens Sep 21*-Dec 12, 2020


Related Programming

NOTE: Fall 2020 Exhibition Programs are all virtual - visit events on the home page to register.


Beyond the Day of the Dead: Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) as a Revolutionary Artist Robert Wicks, Director, Miami University Art Museum
WED, OCT 21 | 1:15–2:35 PM [Virtual]

Posada’s dramatic visual language struck a deep chord in the Mexican popular consciousness during a time of revolution and has inspired generations of artists and printmakers, even influencing Hollywood films like Coco (2017). This presentation explores the indigenous Mexican origins of Posada’s art of social satire and what makes his art so engaging.

Posada & Printmaking
Ellen Price, Emeritus Professor, Department of Art
WED, OCT 28 | 7 PM [Virtual]

Join printmaker Ellen Price will discuss the work of Jose Guadalupe Posada with emphasis on the print making processes used to publish broadsides.
Price will demonstrate two processes in particular include - low tech - relief printing with the wood block and drawing directly on sheets of Zinc.



All Programs are FREE and held online.