The booklet for the Mucha Tarot, uncharacteristically, soft-pedals this one, referring to an overnight vigil of “death-like” meditation that has attracted Death Themself at sunrise, who may or may not go through with collecting the vigilant. Usually I’ve found the Death card focused on full-on actual death; the inexorable change, the rot-and-regrow, the confrontation of mortality and sickness and other things that must be.
Having a knight meet Death in a vigil, on one hand, underscores the idea that we can choose to face this change, and/or that it can be a form of initiation we have entered knowingly; on the other, it might end up giving us a little too much credit for something that is ultimately bigger than us. Anyway, I like the sunrise off in the distance between the pillars: another pointer at initiation, and a reminder that what’s waiting at the other side isn’t necessarily bad even if the transition point itself is scary looking.
As for whether that knight is still alive? I dunno. He looks pretty green to me.