The Afterlife

About

The concept of the afterlife—a realm after death in which the deceased retain some form of existence—is central to the philosophy and religion of many pre-modern cultures and finds explicit manifestation in the artwork of such cultures. In ancient Greek and Roman funerary tombstones, the deceased are depicted in the company of living family members, a convention often interpreted to represent the continuing connection between the living and the dead and the possibility of reunion in the afterlife. In contemporary art, Damien Hirst’s Monument to the Living and the Dead and I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds explore the fluid boundaries of existence between life and death. Rather than providing concrete depictions of the afterlife, Hirst’s works imply that mankind experiences a continually present living death.