“Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?”


Skull 2
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, Call Number ASL 611 V63a.)

While death is often a somber reality, it is not always treated as such in art and media. Representations range from dancing skeletons cavorting with popes and kings of the Middle Ages to anatomical depictions of skulls and bodies. Monuments and memorials adorn our cemeteries with the symbols that guide our lives and our thoughts for the hereafter. Each reminds us of our mortality. For over a century, photographs memorialize the lost and capture what is fleeting. Finally, many legends and folktales tell us that death is not the end but maybe a horrifying new beginning. Death played, and will continue to play, an important and central role in art and expression.