Memento Morte: Remember Death

Thursday, 03 May 2007

Judging by much of the art and literature, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe was fairly morbid. Amid all the optimism of the Golden Age, an entire genre grew up calledmemento morte, which involved meditation on suffering and death. This is not surprising given the fact that about half of Europe's population in some parts had succumbed to the Plague: Few of one's children would live to adulthood, and as late as the 1660s, London was devastated not only by a resurgent plague but a fire that reduced much of the city to ashes. It is ...

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