I’ve known Cullen for years. He is one of the head bartenders at Elysium in down town Austin. I spotted his knuckle tattoos recently and asked about them. He said that they were his first tattoos and he got them when he was drunk.
When I asked what they meant to him I got a lecture on the history of the Dies Irae, which as it turns out is one of the four hymns kept by the Catholic church during the reformation. It is immensely influential in all of classical music and beyond. It is quoted in pieces by Mozart, Stravinsky and many others.
So I asked him again, “But why did you choose to get DIES IRAE?” and he replied, “Because people make assumptions about the character of a person with knuckle tattoos. I like to highlight the dichotomy between high culture and presumed low culture. If the DIES IRAE was good enough for Mozart, it’s good enough for me.”
Ry sends us these knuckles:
These are my knuckles, saying “Hope Dies”. It’s not as pessimistic as you’d think. I believe hope does die, but we must fight to keep it alive. We must fight to keep our hope(s) and dreams alive in our lives, and that would explain the placement for you. As for the style: I didn’t want something ordinary. Knuckles are already an odd location for tattoos, but I wanted to push it further than that and have the words in cursive rather than the plain block lettering. I wanted them crossing fingers and going in the webbing in between — which hurt like hell.
Pjotr K. of Finland sends us the story of his knuckles:
The translation of “dies Irae” is “day of wrath“.
It’s the first words of an 13th century latin hymn that desrcribes the judgement day.
I’ve always found the “dies irae”-poem inspirational and fascinating.
And i think that it makes a powerful tattoo with meaning in it.
The picture is taken just few minutes after it was made and the red parts of it are’nt really red, they’re just swollen.
Now i’ve had it for something like a year and a half and it needs some re-colouring and little fixing.