The Dance of Death, in French the Danse Macabre, is a genre of imagery which aims to remind us that life is fleeting and that Death comes for everyone sooner or later. Death, or the dead, summons representatives from all walks of life to dance to their graves.
Examples of the imagery have been found in European churches and cemeteries dating from the 1400s. It is believed to have been inspired by the scourge of death that stalked Europe in the 14th century – famines, the Hundred Years War in France, and the Black Death drove people to seek religious penitence, but also amusement to distract themselves from the horrors. The idea of the last dance appears to have provided some cold comfort.