I wanted to see if there was any modern art done around the old idea of ars moriendi, latin for the art of dying, and rediscovered Joel-Peter Witkin, who's photograph below is in fact titled Ars Moriendi.
Bear and I had actually totally fallen for this artist ever since seeing this next one at The Getty. It's called Mother and Child (with retractor, screaming) and we decided we would love it in our home. No, really.
So of course then I had to really look this guy up. Apparently, he answers to his fucking creepiness by saying that as a child, he witnessed a horrible car wreck that culminated with the severed head of a little girl rolling up to his feet. I'm skeptical, but it's a fantastic image.
He is known for themes such as death, corpses, dismemberment, dwarves, transexuals, hermaphrodites, freaks, and the general outsiders that I so love.
There are a few other themes he deals with that a little bold and unuasal.
(It's also possible he may be a little into plague doctors too...)
As for actual ars moriendi, the classic ones were carved onto wooden blocks in the 15th century by a man called Master E.S., and they looked like this:
They were supposed to be instructional on how to properly knock off. Hope it's helpful.