CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

The Ivory Mirror: The Art of Mortality in Renaissance Europe

Exhibition: 24 June - 26 November 2017

This exhibition represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the rich visual culture of mortality in Renaissance Europe. The appeal of the “memento mori,” featuring macabre imagery urging us to “remember death,” reached the apex of its popularity around 1500, when artists treated the theme in innovative and compelling ways. Exquisite artworks—from ivory prayer beads to gem-encrusted jewelry—evoke life’s preciousness and the tension between pleasure and responsibility, then and now.

The exhibition is guest-curated by Stephen Perkinson.

Johan Wierix ( 1549 – ca. 1620), The Coat of Arms of Death, 1549-1615
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick


Netherlandish or German artist, Memento Mori Prayer Bead, ca. 17th century
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick