Memento Mori

Memento Mori
Basel's dance of death, Memento Mori

This plate and the following were added by Merian for the 1649-edition. The image is a copy of Memento Mori by Henrik Hondius from 1626.

The fragile life is illustrated by a candle about to burn down, cut flowers that soon will wilt, and an hourglass. The scales at the top of the hourglass and the two wings — one of an angel and the other of a devil — show the two possible final destinations.

Compared to Hondius' original, Merian has added a text in the book: Christus ist mein Leben, Sterben ist mein Gewen. This is a quote from Filippians 1:21, For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Merian has also added the subtitle: Finis Coronat Opus ("The end crowns the work") and has crowned the skull with a wreath.


Up to Basel's dance of death