Make your own free website on

Representation of Death

Ars Moriendi

Home | Memento Mori | Ars Moriendi | The Three Dead

Ars moriendi ("The Art of Dying") is the name of two related Latin texts dating from 1415 and 1450 which offers advice on the protocols and procedures of a good death and on how to "die well", according to Christian precepts of the late Middle Ages. It was written within the historical context of the effects of the macabre horrors of the Black Death and consequent social upheavals of the 15th century.

Ars moriendi was also among the first printed books and was widely circulated, in particular in Germany. They appeared in many block-book editions, translated into most West European languages (both words and pictures cut on the same wood block) in the late fifteen century, depicted the struggle between vices (and religious doubts) and virtues (religious certainty) in the mind of the dying man and the fight between externalized good and evil forces over his soul. In medieval belief, demons lay in wait at the bedside of the dying in hopes of snatching away their souls.

artes moriendi are more refined illustrations that appears in the livres d’heures.

copyright @ 2007 by AF