Charming Eyes

Elizabeth Taylor before playing the role of Cleopatra. Alberto De Rossi did the Make-up.

 
 

Stills from Cleopatra (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1963). The film earned Elizabeth Taylor a Guinness World Record title, “Most costume changes in a film”; Taylor made 65 costume changes.  Renié, (born Irene Brouillet) who was nominated for five Academy Awards, finally won an Oscar for her work on the stunning costumes of this movie, in collaboration with star designer Irene Sharaff.

 
 

Photo by Bert Stern

 
 

“In terms of beauty, Elizabeth Taylor was born charmed. Not only was she born with sapphire eyes that looked violet in some lights, but she also had Distichia – a rare condition that meant she was born with a double eyelash. How lucky to always be screen-ready, with a natural set of false lashes! Even as a child actress Taylor was told she had grown up eyes – too mature, apparently, for her face. Her looks were disconcerting to an audience who were used to the super sweet golden curls of other child actresses of the time, like Shirley Temple.

Luckily for Taylor, her transition from child to adult actress went smoothly and her long career on camera and stage produced some of the most referenced beauty looks of the last century. Taylor trends include Cleopatra eyes (which hadn’t looked so chic since the first Century BC), beauty spots, mega brows, and another trend that set the runways alight this AW13 season.

In 2007 my brief for Alexander McQueen’s show was to watch, and be inspired by, Anthony & Cleopatra. I was just so captivated by Elizabeth Taylor’s mesmeric eyes, the shimmers of light and the milky quality of her skin. We went on to create the MAC For McQueen range, designed to give that incredibly, celestial, other-worldly quality.”

Charlotte Tilbury

 
 

Charlotte Tilbury’s notes and working process. “Make-up is the icing on the cake, what helps to complete my fantasy on the catwalk”, McQueen said.

 
 

McQueen became the first designer to participate in MAC’s promotion of cosmetic releases created by fashion designers. The collection, McQueen, was released on 11 October 2007 and reflected the looks used on the Autumn/Winter McQueen catwalk. The inspiration for the collection was the Elizabeth Taylor movie Cleopatra, and thus the models sported intense blue, green, and teal eyes with strong black liner extended Egyptian-style.

 
 

In Memory of Elizabeth Howe, Salem, 1692, Alexander McQueen’s 2007 Autumn Winter Collection

 
 

The inspiration for this show is autobiographical. The collection of Grecian dresses and warrior-like moulded bustiers came to life after the designer’s mother (Joyce) traced the McQueen family tree back to Elizabeth Howe, one of the victims of the Salem witch hunts in 1692.

So, McQueen is related to several of the women who were hung following the Salem witch trials — and this leads into a sartorial exploration of witchcraft in general. The subject is traced back to its Pagan roots and then to Ancient Egypt, the pyramids and the worship of the sun and the moon.

The set is dominated by a huge screen onto which is projected a film directed by Alexander McQueen featuring close ups of beautiful, naked women apparently floating in limbo. The clothes reflect both protection and fertility — a new cocoon shape is designed to mimic the contours of an ovum. The catwalk is black and embellished with a blood red crystal pentagram.

 
 

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Different of Himself

“Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with diverse kind; thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed; neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.”

LEV 19:19

 
 

There are three laws Yahweh gave Moses, rejecting unions and mixes practiced by pagan peoples and held by the Jews as aberrations. The first forbids creation of monstrous animals; the second is metaphorically taken to be the banishment of bisexuals. They carry a notion of impurity pointing to the spiritual confusion of the gentiles. Christianity, in turn, interpreted them as laws against wickedness.

These ancient prohibitions are engraved in some of our subconscious, and are the reasons for some of our atavistic fears expressed in “antinatural” visions of monsters and prodigies. These, at the same time, are images of temptation, like the hermaphrodite, the sphinx, the ram with a man’s torso, the foetus begot by Frankenstein, today’s eugenic beings and clones, creatures of undefined sex, marked beings.

Capricorn it is merely a zodiac sign that combines in its dual image the pull to the mountain (the goat) and the abyss (the fish). But read between the lines of our atavistic fear which the ancient prohibition fosters in us, this sign could also be a mating of two beast of different species, separated by a line: the ram and the fish, in other words… Satan and Christ.

The Shaman’s Collection defies bisexuality or hemaphrodytism by attaining an open, almost graceful, almost levitating, almost superhuman asexuality, albeit carnally disquieting and vile. In sealing the male/female partition, the shaman transcends the duality that preys on common man, and sheds it as he would a corpse’s shroud.

Medusa, on the other hand, shows the frightening evil version of the androgyne as a bald (masculine) and shaved (obscene) black-mass priestess sporting a fancy shawl at her bosom as if in contempt of the pious mantilla. A sliding drop of semen stains the picture, reminding us –more to our terror, we are not quite sure in what way– of that Levitical prohibition: “Thou shalt not wear a garment mingled of linen and woolen”. We find ourselves facing the old supernatural horror that undoubtedly divides us into two: attraction and repulsion which makes us different from ourselves.

The bipartition of the picture we mentioned in the dividing line of Capricorn is also the axis of The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dogson’s Fantasies, in which Arturo Rivera alludes to Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll’s passion for photographing little girls. The child figure, now spurious and morbid, discovers her nakedness. She wrenches away the ample piece of clean cloth to reveal on her skin the line of an excrescence. Here, I should like to mention a “magic” experience that appears over and over in Arturo Rivera’s painting: significant coincidence. I asked the painter whether the bat drawn in the upper part of this painting referred to Lewis Carroll’s photographic studio, where, among an ample collection of toys and dolls for little girl’s comfort, was a wing-flapping, flying bat the writer himself had made. No, said Arturo Rivera; he knew nothing about that bat. I record this as one of many coincidences that abound in this artist and his work. I have noticed a whole string of them, one after the other. They apparently are not motives at the same time necessary, and they bring me to a very enigmatic aspect of his painting: nature and the distribution of objects in his pictures.

Updating a myth rather than portraying symbols, the appearance of a wide range of figures like geometric bodies, plants, dissected animals, organs, etc. could hardly be considered a sign of a purely compositive or simply polysemic reasoning or ratio: These figure are synchronized. As in the bones that a soothsayer throws on the ground, or a flight of birds at the moment a question is asked, or the interpretation of a sacrificed animal’s entrails, or the three coins disbursed with a consultation of I Ching, the essence is in the coincidence, not in cause. Reading and interpreting Arturo Rivera’s pictures cannot, then, be based on artist’s intentions so much as on the speculation the paintings inspire. As if before an oracle, one is looking at a conveyance of truth rather than a strict revelation of truth.

Three pictures bear me out on this: The Island of the Dead, an extraordinary conveyance of what Arturo Rivera saw in Arnold Böcklin‘s homonymous work, a vision. In North, bipartition again mates animals of different species, not to produce a monster but to depict a re-orientation, expressed here by the archetypical change of skin, and the image of mature man overcoming death and ascending to a higher plane of existence. Legatee, conveys androgyny offering milk from the breast. Arturo Rivera’s paintings revive one of art’s ancient functions: making the viewer experience something that surpasses him in space and time, keeping the myth alive.

Text by Jaime Moreno Villareal

 
 

Fall, 1997

Gesso colors on canvas

 
 

The Island of the Dead (Homage to Böcklin), 1997

Oil on paper/linen

 
 

North, 1997

Oil on wood

 
 

Legatee, 1996

Water-colored pencil and water color on paper

 
 

Capricorn, 1996

Sanguine on paper

 
 

Saturn, 1997

Water color and oil on linen

 
 

The Empty Room, 1997

Gesso colors on paper

 
 

July 17, 1975, 1 p.m. : On the Docks of New York, 1996

Cold encaustic on canvas

 
 

Medusa, 1996

Oil on canvas/ wood

 
 

The Temptations of Saint Anthony, 1997

Egg tempera and oil with metal inlay on paper/wood

 
 

Epilogue, 1997

Gesso colors and oil on canvas

 
 

The Shaman’s Collection, 1997

Oil on wood

 
 

Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dogson’s Fantasies, 1997

Oil on canvas

 
 

Arturo Rivera (Mexico City, 1945). Assiduous visitor as a child to the Chopo Natural History Museum, from an early age he coupled his taste for drawing with a passion for dissecting animals and studying bones. He studied painting at the Mexican National School of Plastic Arts, the San Carlos Academy (1963-68), and serigraphy and photoserigraphy at the City Lit Art School of London (1973-74).

Rivera traveled through South America and the Galapagos Islands. He lived four years in New York (1976-79), where he exhibited in the Francis Gallery and the Jack Gallery in Soho, as well as in the Walton Gallery in Chicago. In 1979 he met the Surrealist painter Max Zimmermann who invited him to be his assistant for the courses he was giving in the Kunstakademie of Munich. There he increased his knowledge on traditional painting techniques and how to handle them. During his stay in this city (1980-81), he exhibited in the Haus der Kunst. Rivera returned to Mexico in 1981 at the invitation of Fernando Gamboa to exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art (1982). Since then he has had a number of one-man exhibitions in Mexico and cities abroad.

Tales of Unexpected

Photos by Tim Walker for Vogue UK, December 2008

 
 

Tim Walker creates this candy coated acid trip of a universe featuring models Karen Elson, Georgia May Jagger, and Sophie Drake, as well as various actors, designers, and British eccentrics, including Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. The story uses quotes from Roald Dahl stories and the editorial includes an article by Dahl’s granddaughter, model Sophie Dahl.

A Friend Who Dies

“A friend who dies, it’s something of you who dies.”
Gustave Flaubert

 
 

Christian Dior’s successor Yves Saint Laurent standing alone after attending Dior’s funeral, Paris, October 1957. Image from the archives of LIFE magazine, first appeared on November 11, 1957

Dialogue Between Fashion and Death

Yves Saint Laurent

 
 

YSL Rive Gauche nappa leather platform pump, 2010

 
 

Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane silver skull and leather necklace

 
 

Yohji Yamamoto 1995-1996 Ad campaign photographed by David Sims

 
 

Alexander McQueen Spring Summer 2010 eyewear advertising

 
 

Christian Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano. Autumn-Winter 2000

 
 

Iris van Herpen Capriole Haute Couture AW11

 
 

Dsquared2 Fall 2010

 
 


Reveal The Inner Self, collection of Taiwanese designer Wei Ting Liang for her 3rd year final project, at the Ecole de la Chambre Synidcale de la Couture Parisenne

 
 

Jean Paul Gaultier, Fall Winter Couture collection 2006-2007

 
 

gaultier skeleton 2011Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show, 2011

 
 

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Fall/Winter 20011-2012

 
 

White cotton jacket printed all over with dotted grey skulls wearing light blue sunglasses by Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus, Spring-Summer 2011

 
 

Narciso Rodriguez’s sketch-books

 
 

Vans skulls slip-on shoes

 
 

Christian Audigier, French fashion designer and entrepreneur

 
 

Vivienne Westwood

 
 

GIACOMO LEOPARDI
DIALOGUE BETWEEN FASHION AND DEATH
A CHAPTER FROM OPERA OMNIA (1824)

Translated by Charles Edwardes

FASHION — Madam Death, Madam Death!

DEATH — Wait until your time comes, and then I will appear without being called by you.

FASHION — Madam Death!

DEATH — Go to the devil. I will come when you least expect me.

FASHION — As if I were not immortal!

DEATH — Immortal?

“Already has passed the thousandth year,”

since the age of immortals ended.

FASHION — Madam is as much a Petrarchist as if she were an Italian poet of the fifteenth or eighteenth century.

DEATH — I like Petrarch because he composed my triumph, and because he refers so often to me. But I must be moving.

FASHION — Stay! For the love you bear to the seven cardinal sins, stop a moment and look at me.

DEATH — Well. I am looking.

FASHION — Do you not recognise me?

DEATH — You must know that I have bad sight, and am without spectacles. The English make none to suit me; and if they did, I should not know where to put them.

FASHION — I am Fashion, your sister.

DEATH — My sister?

FASHION — Yes. Do you not remember we are both born of Decay?

DEATH — As if I, who am the chief enemy of Memory, should recollect it!

FASHION — But I do. I know also that we both equally profit by the incessant change and destruction of things here below, although you do so in one way, and I in another.

DEATH — Unless you are speaking to yourself, or to some one inside your throat, raise your voice, and pronounce your words more distinctly. If you go mumbling between your teeth with that thin spider-voice of yours, I shall never understand you; because you ought to know that my hearing serves me no better than my sight.

FASHION — Although it be contrary to custom, for in France they do not speak to be heard, yet, since we are sisters, I will speak as you wish, for we can dispense with ceremony between ourselves. I say then that our common nature and custom is to incessantly renew the world. You attack the life of man, and overthrow all people and nations from beginning to end; whereas I content myself for the most part with influencing beards, head-dresses, costumes, furniture, houses, and the like. It is true, I do some things comparable to your supreme action. I pierce ears, lips, and noses, and cause them to be torn by the ornaments I suspend from them. I impress men’s skin with hot iron stamps, under the pretence of adornment. I compress the heads of children with tight bandages and other contrivances; and make it customary for all men of a country to have heads of the same shape, as in parts of America and Asia. I torture and cripple people with small shoes. I stifle women with stays so tight, that their eyes start from their heads; and I play a thousand similar pranks. I also frequently persuade and force men of refinement to bear daily numberless fatigues and discomforts, and often real sufferings; and some even die gloriously for love of me. I will say nothing of the headaches, colds, inflammations of all kinds, fevers — daily, tertian, and quartan — which men gain by their obedience to me. They are content to shiver with cold, or melt with heat, simply because it is my will that they cover their shoulders with wool, and their breasts with cotton. In fact, they do everything in my way, regardless of their own injury.

DEATH — In truth, I believe you are my sister; the testimony of a birth certificate could scarcely make me surer of it. But standing still paralyses me, so if you can, let us run; only you must not creep, because I go at a great pace. As we proceed you can tell me what you want. If you cannot keep up with me, on account of our relationship I promise when I die to bequeath you all my clothes and effects as a New Year’s gift.

FASHION — If we ran a race together, I hardly know which of us would win. For if you run, I gallop, and standing still, which paralyses you, is death to me. So let us run, and we will chat as we go along.

DEATH — So be it then. Since your mother was mine, you ought to serve me in some way, and assist me in my business.

FASHION — I have already done so — more than you imagine. Above all, I, who annul and transform other customs unceasingly, have nowhere changed the custom of death; for this reason it has prevailed from the beginning of the world until now.

DEATH — A great miracle forsooth, that you have never done what you could not do!

FASHION — Why cannot I do it? You show how ignorant you are of the power of Fashion.

DEATH — Well, well: time enough to talk of this when you introduce the custom of not dying. But at present, I want you, like a good sister, to aid me in rendering my task more easy and expeditious than it has hitherto been.

FASHION — I have already mentioned some of my labours which are a source of profit to you. But they are trifling in comparison with those of which I will now tell you. Little by little, and especially in modern times, I have brought into disuse and discredit those exertions and exercises which promote bodily health; and have substituted numberless others which enfeeble the body in a thousand ways, and shorten life. Besides, I have introduced customs and manners, which render existence a thing more dead than alive, whether regarded from a physical or mental point of view; so that this century may be aptly termed the century of death. And whereas formerly you had no other possessions except graves and vaults, where you sowed bones and dust, which are but a barren seed, now you have fine landed properties, and people who are a sort of freehold possession of yours as soon as they are born, though not then claimed by you. And more, you, who used formerly to be hated and vituperated, are in the present day, thanks to me, valued and lauded by all men of genius. Such an one prefers you to life itself, and holds you in such high esteem that he invokes you, and looks to you as his greatest hope. But this is not all. I perceived that men had some vague idea of an after-life, which they called immortality. They imagined they lived in the memory of their fellows, and this remembrance they sought after eagerly. Of course this was in reality mere fancy, since what could it matter to them when dead, that they lived in the minds of men? As well might they dread contamination in the grave! Yet, fearing lest this chimera might be prejudicial to you, in seeming to diminish your honour and reputation, I have abolished the fashion of seeking immortality, and its concession, even when merited. So that now, whoever dies may assure himself that he is dead altogether, and that every bit of him goes into the ground, just as a little fish is swallowed, bones and all. These important things my love for you has prompted me to effect. I have also succeeded in my endeavour to increase your power on earth. I am more than ever desirous of continuing this work. Indeed, my object in seeking you to-day was to make a proposal that for the future we should not separate, but jointly might scheme and execute for the furtherance of our respective designs.

DEATH — You speak reasonably, and I am willing to do as you propose

A Matter of Life and Death

“I find the vast majority of fashion is perpetuating something that has already been – particularly with how human beings are portrayed within it. I find it repetitive; I think I’ve always been drawn to something that’s a little more individual.”

Tim Walker

 
 

Malgosia Bela by Tim Walker, Harper’s Bazaar October 2009

 
 

A private worldVogue Italia November 2008. Models: Alice Gibb, Sunniva Stordahl

 
 

Nathaniel Lyless and his bone bed, 2010

 
 

Agyness Deyn with Skull pipe, 2011

 
 

Tim Walker’s fascination with the make-believe world of fashion photography started early. As a 19-year-old intern at Vogue he established its Cecil Beaton Archive before studying art and photography at Exeter Art College. On graduation he worked briefly as a freelance photographic assistant in London before moving to New York as full-time assistant to Richard Avedon. At 25 he shot his first Vogue fashion story. He was the recipient of the second ‘Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator’ at the British Fashion Awards (2008) and the following year he received an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York, for his fashion photography. In 2011 his short film The Lost Explorer premiered at Lorcano Film festival and went on to win the Jury Award at the Chicago United Film Festival. He is also well known for his advertising campaigns for Mulberry, Hèrmes, Valentino and many others.A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946) is one of the films that have inspired and influenced some of his images.

The Supporting Structure of a Concept

2006BF7453_jpg_lThe Skeleton Dress (from The Circus collection), designed in 1938 by Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí

 
 

To many contemporaries the sinister black skeleton evening dress with its padded representations of human bones was an outrage – an offence against good taste. Although otherwise in elegant harmony with the prevailing lines of late 1930s evening wear, the skeleton dress is so constricted that it became a second skin and the imitation anatomy sat defiantly proud of the fine matt silk surface. Schiaparelli exaggerated the usually delicate trapunto quilting technique to make enormous ‘bones’ – the design was stitched in outline through two layers of fabric, then cotton wadding inserted through the back to bring the design into relief on the front. The shoulder seams and right side are closed by bold plastic zips.

 
 

Samsonite Black Label suitcases by Alexander McQueen, circa 2007-2008

 
 

The human form is treated just like an animal skin, with the rib cage and sternum at the front of the case, and backbone at the back. The inside is formed by the negative of the outside shape in a soft molded form providing contrast with the outer protective hard shell. In both examples skeletons were used as the supporting structure of a concept.

Alexander McQueen with Skull and Cigarettes

Alexander McQueen with skull and cigarettes, Tim Walker, 2009

 
 

I would never enforce something on a sitter in a portrait. The portrait of Alexander McQueen was one of the first that really taught me that: I had a very specific idea about him. Andy Hillman (the London-based set designer) had made a bow tie out of bones and a skull that was meant to fit on his head so that he became sandwiched between a skull and crossbones. But McQueen arrived and said, ‘I’m not wearing that skull on my head. No way. ‘I’m not doing that, but I love the skull and I love smoking. This is how it should be.’ Fags came out, fag went into skull, then he composed himself and said, ‘This is the picture.’

In a way that’s a gift because that photograph would be meaningless if he had just done what I’d told him to do – you wouldn’t learn anything about him. He lit up a cigarette, put a cigarette in the skull and put his finger in his mouth and gave that to the camera.

That picture then actually became more valuable because he died two weeks later. It becomes, in a way, a memento mori of a great talent. But even if he were still alive, you really feel his attitude.

Some content on this page was disabled on November 28, 2016 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Tim Walker. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

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Some content on this page was disabled on November 28, 2016 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Tim Walker. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/
Some content on this page was disabled on November 28, 2016 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Tim Walker. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/

Vanitas in Modern Times

Skull series by Irving Penn

 
 

Cecil Beaton, Self-portrait

 
 

Manasse

 
 

Duane Michals

 
 

Mark Seliger

 
 

Guido Mocafico

 
 

Hedi Slimane

 
 

Common vanitas symbols include skulls, which are a reminder of the certainty of death; rotten fruit, which symbolizes decay; bubbles, which symbolize the brevity of life and suddenness of death; smoke, watches, and hourglasses, which symbolize the brevity of life; and musical instruments, which symbolize brevity and the ephemeral nature of life. Fruit, flowers and butterflies can be interpreted in the same way, and a peeled lemon, as well as accompanying seafood was, like life, attractive to look at, but bitter to taste. There is debate among art historians as to how much, and how seriously, the vanitas theme is implied in still-life paintings without explicit imagery such as a skull. As in much moralistic genre painting, the enjoyment evoked by the sensuous depiction of the subject is in a certain conflict with the moralistic message.

Dum Vivimus Vivamus

Dum vivimus vivamus is a Latin phrase that means “While we live, let us live”. It is often taken to be an epicurean declaration.

Emily Dickinson once used it in a letter written to William Howland:

“Sic transit gloria mundi*
How doth the busy bee,
Dum vivimus vivamus,
I stay my enemy!”

 
 

Portrait of Salvador Dalí, Philippe Halsman

 
 

Brion Gysin

 
 

Alfred Hitchcock

 
 

One of the members of Jefferson Airplane by Jim Marshall

 
 

Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger

 
 

Still from Tommy (Ken Russell, 1975)

 
 

David Bowie

 
 

Tim Burton

 
 

Beck Hansen

 
 

Michael Stipe, Mario Sorrenti for Interview Magazine, March 2011

 
 

Lady Gaga and model Rick Genest, still from Born This Way music video (Nick Night, 2011)

 
 

*Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means “Thus passes the glory of the world.” It has been interpreted as “Worldly things are fleeting.” It is possibly an adaptation of a phrase in Thomas à Kempis‘s 1418 work The Imitation of Christ: “O quam cito transit gloria mundi” (“How quickly the glory of the world passes away”).

The Artistic Side of Death

View of a Skull, Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1489

 
 

Saint Francis in Meditation, Caravaggio, 1605

 
 

Skull, Albrecht Dürer, 1521

 
 

La Calavera Catrina (Dapper Skeleton or Elegant Skull), José Guadalupe Posada, 1910-1913.

Much memento mori art is associated with the Mexican festival Day of the Dead, including skull-shaped candies and bread loaves adorned with bread “bones.”

 
 

Self-portrait With Death Playing the Fiddle, Arnold Böcklin, 1872

 
 

Engraving by M.C. Escher, 1919

 
 

Untitled-Death Outside the Head-Paul Eluard, Salvador Dalí, 1933

 
 

Head with Broken Pot, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1942

 
 

Sin esperanza (Without Hope), Frida Kahlo, 1945

 
 

Detail of Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central, Diego Rivera, 1946-1947

 
 

Three Study Portraits of Lucian Freud, by Francis Bacon

 
 

Artwork by Sergio Toppi

 
 

Drawings by Edward Gorey

 
 

Knowledge of the Past Is the Key to the Future: Some Afterthoughts on Discovery, Robert Colescott, 1986

 
 

Riding with Death, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1988

 
 

Black Kites, Gabriel Orozco, 1997

 
 

For the Love of God, Damien Hirst, 1997

 
 

The Orientalist, Walton Ford, 1999

 
 

Painting by Pascal Vilcollet

 
 

Confetti Death, Typoe, 2010

A Symbolic Reminder

 
 

A memento mori (Latin ‘remember that you will die’) is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death.

Popular belief says the phrase originated in ancient Rome: as a Roman general was parading through the streets during a victory triumph, standing behind him was his slave, tasked with reminding the general that, although at his peak today, tomorrow he could fall, or — more likely — be brought down. The servant is thought to have conveyed this with the warning, “Memento mori”.

It is further possible that the servant may have instead advised, “Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!”: “Look behind you! Remember that you are a man! Remember that you’ll die!”, as noted by Tertullian in his Apologeticus.