40 Faces of Death: A Grim Reaper Gallery

Tod und Leben
© Corbis

Here's a classic depiction of the reaper from Austrian artist Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). Titled "Tod und Leben" ("Death and Life"), it displays a grinning Death as it gazes at life itself as a conglomerate of lifespans spread out across generations. In this, the work serves as a counter argument to the Danse Macabre tradition. Sure, Death is inexorable and claims every individual, but it is also increasingly powerless against larger views of life: the family, the bloodline, the race and the species.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.