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Young Man with a Skull

A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.


c. 1519


Lucas van Leyden
Netherlandish, c. 1494-1533

About this artwork

Once interpreted as Lucas van Leyden’s self-portrait, this print is sometimes entitled Memento Mori (Remember you must die). The well-dressed, anonymous figure considers his mortality while pointing at the human skull (which may or may not be real) tucked under his cloak. This image predates by eighty years Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with his famous speech on poor Yorick’s fate, traditionally delivered with the jester’s actual skull in hand. If the round Dürer Crucifixion (1956.951) was printed from Emperor Maximilian’s hatpin, which was also made in 1519, it would have resembled the tiny face stylishly worn on the cap of this unidentified man.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Lucas van Leyden


Young Man with a Skull


Netherlands (Artist's nationality)




Engraving in black on ivory laid paper


Signed recto lower left corner, in plate in image: “L” (monogram)


Image/sheet, trimmed within platemark: 18.3 × 14.4 cm (7 1/4 × 5 11/16 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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