A Look at Death in Art

This gallery will take you on a walk with death through the ages. The pieces of art in this gallery will have some sort of depiction of death in some sense, from art showing the death of a person, the grief over a death or  showing death himself. Many different art mediums will be showcased in this gallery.

Figure of death (memento mori) is a boxwood carving done by Hans Leinberger in the 1520’s. Leinberger carved away the negative space from the wood creating a 3D figure of death as a skeleton with rotting flesh and hold a scroll. The writing on the scroll says “I am what you will be. I was what you are: for every man is this so”.
This piece is Death and the Miser and is an oil on panel painting by Hieronymus Bosch. It was created between 1485-1490. This painting has death waiting around a corner to collect the soul of the soon to be deceased miser. Bosch’s use of emphasis and movement tell a tale of the miser paying for his sins as death comes for him.
Death of a peasant by Henry Lamb is an oil on canvas painting done in 1911. This painting depicts a son mourning the death of his mother. The way Lamb used oils over a layer of reddish brown tempera that gave this picture such great texture. The Death of a peasant made my gallery because of the way it shows the effects death can have on someone.
Self-Portrait with Death Playing the Fiddle is an oil on canvas painting done in 1872 by Arnold Böcklin. It is as titled, a self portrait with death behind him playing a fiddle. I liked the way Böcklin painted death over his shoulder like he was aware that death is there just patiently waiting to take him.
This tempera color with ink and gold on parchment piece is the work of illuminator Master of the Chronique and was made in 1872 and is entitled Denise Poncher Before a Vision of Death. This work of art uses vibrant colors and soft shapes. This work was chosen for this gallery because of the depiction of death as a skeleton covered in rotten flesh
This statue titled Death of Cleopatra by Damiá Campeny is a cast bronze statue depicting the moment Cleopatra was bitten by a snake a died. This piece was created in 1804 and doesn’t have death in it as a being but it shows the death of an important figure. I chose this piece for the way Campeny depicts Cleopatra hunched over and motionless yet her gown still seems to flow on her.
In this picture taken july 4, 1863 death is very apparent. Properly titled A Harvest of Death, this picture taken by Timothy H. O’Sullivan shows the devastation and aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg. Numerous bodies lay strewn across the ground, casualties of the civil war. I chose this picture for my gallery because it shows death in its realest form.
From 1615-1617 Giovanni Battista Caracciolo was busy painting Christ on the Mount of Olives. BY filling the dark negative space with lighter more vibrant colors Caracciolo painted Jesus knelt in fear of his appending death, an angel is present giving comfort. This piece was selected for my gallery because it shows that death can inflict emotion rather sorrow or fear.
This Bohumil Kubišta painting done in 1912 is an oil on canvas painting entitled Kiss of Death. The painting shows death embracing the male figure next to him giving him a kiss upon his forehead. The way Kubišta uses more rounded shapes rather jagged sharp edges gives the painting a gentle nature. I chose this painting for its softness and the death is embracing him.
This water color and gouache on paper painting done by Hugo Simberg; titled The Garden of Death, was painted in 1896. The painting shows multiple deaths tending to a garden of potted plants. Simberg painted death in a gentle manner having death almost smiling while working. I chose this piece as it shows death in a lighter softer side as opposed to a horrible creature.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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