"Et ego in arcadia"

This is a common rewording of et in Arcadia ego. The phrase first appeared in a painting by Italian artist Guercino, completed in 1622. This work depicts two shepherds gazing upon a skull: the stone pedestal on which it rests is inscribed with these words. Originally interpreted as ‘I too was in Arcadia’, the line was assumed to speak for the erstwhile owner of the skull. Now generally agreed to mean ‘Even in Arcadia, I am present’, it is read as a memento mori, the words of a personified Death attesting to an omnipresence that extends even into the idealised arena of bucolic bliss.

Et in Arcadia Ego
Public DomainEt in Arcadia Ego - Credit: Guercino