Death and the Maidens

This allegory takes up the subject of Death and the Maiden used by Schubert in a 'lied' of 1817 and well known in France at the time. This subject was often illustrated in the German Renaissance and treated as a morbid event, but here Puvis gives a rather serene and discrete interpretation of it: girls dance in the meadow, apparently unaware of the shrouded figure of death, the reaper, lying in the foreground. This is a sketch with variations for the artist's painting of the same title dated 1872, now in the Clark Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Key facts

Artist dates
1824 - 1898
Full title
Death and the Maidens
Date made
before 1872
Medium and support
Oil on board
40.6 x 31.4 cm
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Arthur Haythorne Studd, 1919
Inventory number
Location in Gallery