Death Listens

For few days now I have found myself thinking about two paintings by Hugo Simberg: "The Garden of Death" and "Death Listens". I think those two paintings are my two favourites. I like them because of their symbolism and because they make us re-think things that we have taken for granted.

In the western societies, we find death to be something scary and sad. And why not, we lose someone we love. But I like how in those two paintings, Simberg shows Death to be compassionate and caring.

In "Garden of Death", we have Death gently taking care of the souls. The souls are on their way to their final destination (heaven or hell), but while Death is taking care of them, they'll be fine. I like how Death gently embraces one of the souls. It looks like it's very precious to him and he wouldn't want to let go of it.

In "Death Listens", we have Death on his way to "collect" someone from this world. But on his way, Death has stopped to listen a boy play his violin. It's quite obvious that the woman in the background (maybe the boys mother or grandmother) is the one who is about to die. But Death decided to let the boy finish his music first, possibly because Death enjoys the music and because he know that the music will cheer up the dying woman. Death silently listens as the boy plays the violin, his last act of kindness to a dying member of the family. There's no need to interrupt that beautiful moment, so Death waits, and listens.

Morbid? Maybe. But it's still beautiful and thought-provoking.

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