The population did not begin to fully recover from reoccurring breakouts of the plague until the late fifteenth century. Immediately following each outbreak, livestock and people could be found rotting in public buildings, their homes, and the streets. The vision of death was impressed into the catalogue of daily observations. It is hard to imagine what it must have felt like, wandering through the streets of town, smelling everyone rotting. After the major epidemics of the death were over, people began to sanctify the dead with more elaborate burials, tombstones, and funeral processions. In the following centuries after the major outbreaks, death although commonplace tended to faintly transcend the average person's concerns from the material world to the heavenly. There might exist images focusing on death in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but there was not a movement of heightened awareness of death in art comparable to the late Middle Ages after the last major epidemic.
The preoccupation with death in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was normal under the given conditions. Because people did not have access to a scientific explanation explaining the causes of the plague, they thought that God was sending his wrath. The wrath of God could be anything but in the fourteenth century it was mass death.
The representation of death seen as a skeleton in the fourteenth century evolved into the danse macabre by the beginning of the sixteenth century with Holbein's woodcuts which appealed to all because no one was too good to die. Death, mortality, and judgment became reoccurring motifs.