Art Spotlight: The Three Ages of Man and Death


Age and Death © Alfredo Dagli Orti/The Art Archive/Corbis

Here we see "The Three Ages of Man and Death" by Hans Baldung (1484 - 1545), which I featured in "40 Faces of Death: A Grim Reaper Gallery." Unfortunately, image size restrictions prevented me from sharing the full image, so I present it here.

Finally, you can actually see the sleeping (or dead?) infant in the lower portion of the painting, thus providing the first of the three ages in the life of man -- as well as the Heavenly crucifix in the sky and the Christ that rescues humanity from the darkness of impermanence in Christian traditions.

And then there's the owl, often employed as a symbol of night and death, but also of wisdom.


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.