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Image of Death (Imago Mortis), from the Nuremberg Chronicle

A work made of handcolored woodcut in black on cream laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of handcolored woodcut in black on cream laid paper.


c. 1493


Michael Wolgemut and Workshop
German, 1434-1519

About this artwork

This brightly colored leaf from The Nuremberg Chronicle shows five cheerful skeletons and decaying cadavers dancing, playing music, and emerging from a grave. One tosses its bluish entrails about like a dress train, while others rattle dry bones. Fingerprints appear on the right side of this evidently well-thumbed page. A user also bracketed the text below that begins, “Nothing is better than death,” underscoring the importance of the memento mori (Remember you must die) message offered by the work. The Nuremberg Chronicle was also available uncolored, in black and white.


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Prints and Drawings


Michel Wolgemut


Image of Death (Imago Mortis), from the Nuremberg Chronicle


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Handcolored woodcut in black on cream laid paper


Block: 19.4 × 22.5 cm (7 11/16 × 8 7/8 in.); Sheet: 44.5 × 30.8 cm (17 9/16 × 12 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Joseph Brooks Fair Fund

Reference Number


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