The Dance of Death

Originally exhibited December 16, 2016–May 20, 2017
Entry Hall


Reflections on death and its meaning for Christian communities have taken many forms in art and literature. During the Middle Ages a genre called the Dance of Death developed which depicted a personification of death leading a procession of people ranging from kings to paupers, emphasizing the mortality of all persons regardless of social status. The genre included poetry, prose works, and visual art. While individual works sometimes focused exclusively on images or literature, many included both. This exhibition features images popularized in print by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497–1543) and explores the artist’s possible inspirations and his influence on subsequent illustrators.


Bridwell Library Special Collections