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Death in Europe

Memento Mori

Height: 316.000 mm
Width: 319.000 mm

PD 1868-6-12-469 (Robert-Dumesnil 39)

Jean Morin, 'Memento Mori (The Skull)'

From: France
Date: about AD 1650

Artists would sometimes create a picture that would remind a person looking at it that their life would not last forever. This is known as a Memento Mori, the Latin words for ‘remember death'.

This picture shows a clock ticking away time, flowers that have petals falling from them showing that beauty does not last long, and a skull to show how the person will look after they have died.

A Memento Mori would not be created to frighten people, but to remind them that is important to prepare for death, after which Christians believe people live for ever.