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Death and the Maiden


A late 16th century oil painting in oil on board, English School, about 1570. This allegorical painting shows a young woman playing a lute, with the elderly male figure of Death behind her, who holds a skull in one hand and a looking-glass in the other. A Latin phrase in the top right of the picture reads `MORS/ULTIMA/LINEA RERUM EST' ('Death is the thing which is last in line' - from Horace, 'Epistles' 1,16,79). This painting shares close similarities with a very small group of works which include 'The Allegory of Man' and 'The Allegory of the Wise and Foolish Virgins' (in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen). Among the artists associated with their production are Hans Eworth, Lucas de Heere and Joris Hoefnagel, but this painting cannot be ascribed with certainty to any of these.

  • Measurements

  • Width

    490 mm

  • Height

    650 mm

  • Marks & inscriptions

    MORS/ULTIMA/LINEA RERUM EST ('Death is the thing which is last in line'),

  • Place made

    United Kingdom - England

  • Credit line

    CC-BY-NC-ND Image Courtesy of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust