Statue of Death of the University of Medicine – Paris, France - Atlas Obscura

Statue of Death of the University of Medicine

Statue of death tucked in the University of Medicine courtyard. 


Monuments to death haunt the city of Paris — if one is curious enough to seek them.

One of the most stunning Parisian memento mori experiences is neither in a museum nor a cemetery, but hidden in the calm courtyard of the Monastery of Les Cordeliers, now converted into the University of Medicine.

Wander around the courtyard and you’ll find, under an alcove, a marble sculpture of Death itself as the Grim Reaper. It stands on a pedestal made of a crown, a treasure chest, and other jewels, symbols of human vanity and pride — all dust under death’s feet. 

Carved in 1910 by Henri Allouard, the sculpture is a mix of anatomical realism and classical sculpture and iconography, giving it a graceful and mysterious beauty. Elegantly draped in a white shroud, Allouard’s vision of Death reminds us of our own ephemeral nature. 

Know Before You Go

Metro : Odeon ( 4 ) Due to the fact that the statue is located on University property, access maybe limited to when school is in session. Once you past the guard near the entrance, head to the right. You should enter a long corridor with arches and a garden on your left, head toward the end and the statue will be on your left.

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November 13, 2012

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