Art/ Collection/ Art Object


mid-17th century
Lindenwood with traces of pigment, spruce base
12-1/8 x 11-1/2 in. (30.8 x 29.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
Carved images of death were cherished items in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century collectors' cabinets. Most were of wood, though ivory versions are known. They relate to the artistic preoccupation with death in the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The naturalistic poses, gestures, and movement of drapery date this group to the mid-seventeenth century; indeed, the composition recalls an etching of 1663 by Stefano della Bella. The group is carved in one piece except for the plumes on the turban. The skeleton has an elaborately hollowed-out torso and neck, and the tendons of his forearms and lower legs are similarly undercut.
J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
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