A Sad Object of Death. 2017
Pen and ink, Gregory B. Stewart
Illustration from the book, The Master Mason.
This work appears in the interior of the book, The Master Mason.
The text it accompanies reads:
“Finding the fellow of the craft free of complicity in the death of Hiram, the master of the lodge turns the candidate to the East, presenting for his view a ‘sad object’ of death—a small skull—whose meaning is said to say ‘I have been, and I am no more,’ and whose further allegorical teaching is to suggest ‘all of the evils which oppress mankind.’”
As overt as the symbolism is in this work, its meaning is just as overt in the contemplation of any memento mori. The skull, quite obviously and composed as such, represents the contemplation of death and the afterlife.