pastel painting of a skeleton holding a ferret

Old (Dead) Masters series

Old (Dead) Masters

Old (Dead) Masters are my tongue-in-cheek take on classical works of art. Not only do I enjoy copying beautiful paintings, I absolutely love putting skeletons in the places of the original figures. It makes me laugh. You can’t laugh too much in this world, and who would have thought that skeleton faces could be so expressive?

I learn new things every time I copy a famous work and this is knowledge that I use in the pieces that come later. My aim is to be faithful to the original works but I am after an authentic feeling to the painting, rather than a stroke by stroke reproduction.

Old (Dead) Masters is a favorite theme of mine, so check back often for new work.

About skellies

I love skellies because they’re fearless and free. When painting them I find that they take on a life of their own! If they make you laugh, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Life is short! Skellies are forever!


Pastels are my medium of choice because they’re so versatile and immediate. I love the way light refracts when it hits the chalk, plus all the different marks you can make with them.

Purchase an Old (Dead) Master of your very own!

If you’d like to purchase originals, canvas wraps, prints or greeting cards, please click on the images to go to that product page, and thank you!

Blue Skelly Dancers is a parody pastel painting of Edward Degas's Blue Dancers

©2015 Marie Marfia, Blue Skelly Dancers, 16×16″ pastel on paper.


au moulin rouge parody painting

©2015 Marie Marfia, Au Moulin Skelly, 19.5 x 17″, pastel on paper.


pastel painting of the Mona Lisa with a skeleton

©2017 Marie Marfia, Bona Lisa, 12×18″ pastel on paper.


©2017 Marie Marfia, Frida Skelly with Monkeys, 12×18″ pastel on sanded paper.


Green Stripe Skelly is a parody pastel painting of Henri Matisse's Green Stripe painting

©2017 Marie Marfia, Green Stripe Skelly, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board.


parody pastel painting of Edward Hopper's Ground Swell

©2016 Marie Marfia, Ground Skel, 16×20″ pastel on gessoed mat board.



Madame X-Ray is a parody pastel painting of Madame X by John Singer Sargent

©2015 Marie Marfia, Madame X-Ray, 6×12″ pastel on sanded paper.


Salvador Skelly is a parody pastel painting of Salvador Dali photo

©2017 Marie Marfia, Salvador Skelly, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board.


Skelly Dance at Bougival, parody pastel painting of Renoir's Dance at Bougival

©2015 Marie Marfia, Skelly Dance at Bougival, 12×24″ pastel on paper.


pastel painting of a skeleton in a red turban

©2017 Marie Marfia, Skelly in the Red Turban, 18×12″ pastel on paper.


pastel painting of a skeleton holding a ferret

©2017 Marie Marfia, Skelly with a Ferret, 10×8″ pastel on paper.


The Kiss (Skelly Lovers) is a parody of Gustav Klimt's The Kiss painting

©2016 Marie Marfia, The Kiss (Skelly Lovers), 18×18″ pastel on gessoed gator board with gilding.


the skelly dance II is a parody of Henri Matisse's The Dance featuring skeletons dancing in a circle on a green hill

©2017 Marie Marfia The Skelly Dance II, 20.75×28.75″, pastel on paper.


parody painting of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring

The Skelly with a Pearl Earring, 8×10″ pastel on paper.


The Very Last Supper, pastel painting parody of da Vinci's The Last Supper

©2016 Marie Marfia, The Very Last Supper, 12″x24″ pastel on gessoed gatorboard.


pastel portrait of Vincent Van Gogh as a skeleton

©2017 Marie Marfia, Vincent Van Skelly, 10×8″ pastel on paper.

Original art
High Skeller, 20×16″ pastel on paper.
Skelly on the Half Shell parody of Botticelli's Birth of Venus
©2019 Marie Marfia, Skelly on the Half Shell, 15×24″ pastel on paper.
pastel painting of Skelly Godiva skeleton art
Skelly Godiva, 17×22″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, ©2020