A memento mori is an artwork intended to prompt the viewer to reflect on their own mortality and the brief, delicate nature of human existence.
Memento Mori, translated as ‘Remember you must die’, serves as a reminder not to dwell in morbidity or fear, but rather to inspire, propel, and bring clarity. This concept has held significance in various fields such as art, philosophy, literature, architecture, and more throughout history.
In a basic memento mori painting, you might encounter a portrait featuring a skull, while other symbols often included are hourglasses or clocks, extinguished or dwindling candles, fruits, and flowers. The vanitas still life is closely related to the memento mori picture.