The Grim Reaper, complete with scythe, first appeared in the Middle Ages and became popular in the 19th century. It’s one of the few phrases drawn from visual art.
Why are women sometimes shown as having very pale skin? Why did they apply cosmetics to make their faces whiter? Ask the ancient Egyptians.
A relatively common motif, it started with the peculiar association of death and the erotic, then changed in the late 19th century.
A fine portrait by a master, which also contains a delightful caricature self-portrait, and an interesting reverse side.