Death Mask 02

Death Mask 02

A high-resolution version of this photograph is included in Paul Watson’s 2016 book of artwork Myth and Masks, available exclusively from our online shop.

About the “Death Mask” series of photographs

The “Death Mask” series of photographs re-imagine an anthropomorphic Death in a more primal incarnation.

While the European personification of Death as the Grim Reaper was traditionally depicted (from around 15th Century) as a cloaked skeleton carrying a scythe, earlier depictions exist that differ greatly from this image.

The Ancient Greeks saw Death as a young boy called Thanatos, Norwegian and Baltic folklore portrayed Death as an old woman (Pesta and Giltinė respectively), and Latin American folklore has Santa Muerte (Saint Death), born of a syncretism between indigenous Mesoamerican and invading Catholic mythology, as well as La Calavera Catrina associated with the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead).