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.

Date:

c. 1519

Artist:

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, displayed nearby) 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.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Lucas van Leyden

Title

Young Man with a Skull

Origin

Netherlands

Date

1514–1524

Medium

Engraving in black on ivory laid paper

Inscriptions

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

Dimensions

183 x 144 mm (image/sheet, trimmed within plate mark)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number

1940.1314

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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