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The Triumph of Death


The Triumph of Death is a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1562 that reflects on the ever-present threat of death in medieval Europe brought on by the Black Death. Bruegel was a Dutch artist who would have witnessed two major recurrences of the plague that began in 1544 and 1562 respectively.
The painting is a panoramic landscape of death: the sky in the distance is blackened by smoke, the sea is littered with shipwrecks, and armies of skeletons advance on victims from all directions. Skeletons kill people in a variety of ways: slitting throats, hanging, drowning, and even hunting with skeletal dogs.