Memento mori (Latin 'remember (that you have) to die'), or also memento mortis, “remember death”, is the Latin medieval designation of the theory and practice of the reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. It is related to the ars moriendi or “Art of Dying” and related literature. Memento mori has been an important part of ascetic disciplines as a means of perfecting the character, by cultivating detachment and other virtues, and turning the attention towards the immortality of the soul and the afterlife.
For art historians, memento mori refers to specific artistic or symbolic reminders of the above. In the European Christian art context, "the expression… developed with the growth of Christianity, which emphasized Heaven, Hell, and salvation of the soul in the afterlife."