Memento Mori, Danse Macabre & Vanitas

Memento mori. Remember that you will die.

Memento mori woodcut by Alexander Mair, 1605

Memento mori woodcut by Alexander Mair, 1605


Us moderns don’t like to think too much about death. It’s a bit too depressing and morbid for our think-positive sensibilities. Our culture is devoted to perpetuating the lie that you can stay young forever and your life will go on and on.


But for men living in antiquity all the way up until the beginning of the 20th century, rather than being a downer, death was seen as a motivator to live a good, meaningful, and virtuous life. To help men remember death, artists created paintings, sculptures, and mosaics depicting skulls, skeletons, and other symbols of death. (The Art of Manliness)

This is a fascinating collection of artwork directly inspired by and exploring the ideas of memento mori, danse madacabre and vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas. If you’re feeling immortal, you just might want to check it out!

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