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Old Masters, Memento Mori, Skeleton with Hour Glass, Antique Drawing, 18th Century (Sold)

Memento Mori
Pencil, pen and ink
Continental: 18th Century (or possibly 19th Century)
18.75 x 13.25 inches, overall
14.5 x 10.75 inches, image

This item is sold. It has been placed here in our online archives as a service for researchers and collectors.

Original design of a skeleton within an oval frame decorated in a baroque style that appears to be a design for an engraving. Head tilted upward as if gazing at the heavens, the skeleton holds the classic allegorical symbols of death: a gravedigger’s shovel and hourglass denoting the passage of time in its right hand, and the grim reaper’s sickle in the other. An empty banner hangs in front of the skeleton, perhaps to have the name of the deceased incorporated during printing. The spandrels each incorporate a skull and bones. Memento Mori was a genre of art incorporating emblems of mortality in order to remind the viewer of the inevitability of death. Such images were engraved on tombstones as early as the fifteenth century. It is possible that this was meant to be personalized as a keepsake after a loved one’s death.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning and edge wear.


Additional information


18th Century