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The Core Curriculum

Ape with Skull, by Hugo Rheinhold, c. 1893 CE.

Contemplating skulls as a meditation on mortality has a long history in European culture, most famously in Shakespeare’s Hamlet graveyard scene (“Alas, poor Yorick!”).  Hugo Rheinhold’s chimp is a scientist, however, sitting on a book labeled “Darwin” and holding calipers to measure the human skull he holds.   At his feet, a Bible is open to a torn page reading “Eritis sicut deus,” the first words of the serpent’s promise to Eve: if you eat the forbidden fruit, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” What message do you think this complex imagery is meant to convey? 

Source/Citation: 

via Wikimedia Commons.

Type: 
Artistic Response
Access Level: 
Licensed for Public Use