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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Heaven, Hell, and Dying Well

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J. Paul Getty Museum Online / Los Angeles / Art

This online survey is for those who are in an objective frame of mind and want some art-historical perspective on how people of past centuries addressed mortality. In fact, in honor of the late, great Swedish actor Max von Sydow, who died on March 8, at 90, Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece of 1957, The Seventh Seal, might be due for a re-watch. Von Sydow plays a knight returning home, during a time of plague, after years spent in the Crusades. On the journey back, he begins a chess game with a hooded man dressed in black. He is playing for time, for existential insight, for the chance to perform “one meaningful deed.” A movie like no other. —L.J.

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