40 Faces of Death: A Grim Reaper Gallery

Death and the Miser
© Francis G. Mayer/Corbis

Here we see a detail from "Death and the Miser" by the legendary Hieronymus Bosch (1450 - 1516). It's another memento mori and, in keeping with Bosch's other works, is filled with symbolism. I'll refer you to the National Gallery of Arts for the full image, but this detail captures two key items.

First of all, Death appears in a harlot's robes and aims an arrow at the miser's groin, indicating the horrors of venereal disease. Secondly, we see that, in death, he relinquishes his worldly riches to a demon.

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.