Hidden in the quiet courtyard of the former Monastery of Les Cordeliers in Paris, the grim reaper stands waiting in a darkened alcove. The creepy marble sculpture was carved in 1910 by Henri Allouard. It stands on a pedestal made from a treasure chest, a crown, and other jewels that symbolise human vanity and pride, all worthless under death’s feet.
The former Monastery is now the Université Paris Descartes, the city’s school of medicine, a strange place for a statue of death perhaps. Then again, maybe stood among these classrooms, the proximity of death is a sobering, if largely unnoticed, reminder of the fact that even the wonder of modern medicine has its limitations.
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