17th c. German Memento Mori Monk c.1600-1699
Exceptional large Memento Mori sculpture in polychrome depicting a half flayed Monk. German 17th century. The sculpture presents half of the skeletal face, hand and foot.
Shown with life size model hand.
- CREATOR Unknown. German.
DATE OF MANUFACTURE c.1600-1699.
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES Paint, Wood.
- CONDITION Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Damage on the two back corners.
- DIMENSIONS H 36.25 in. W 13 in. D 9 in.
From approximately the sixteenth century, skulls were commonly used to remember death as they symbolise the transience of human life. Memento Mori literal Latin translation means remember that you [have to] die. The concept has its roots in the philosophers of classical antiquity, and appeared in funeral art and architecture of the medieval period. Memento Mori jewellery with skull or coffin motifs became popular in the late 16th century, and it was reflected in the artistic genre of vanitas, where symbolic objects such as hourglasses and wilting flowers signified the impermanence of human life.