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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Fine Arts Studio

Q1: What is vanitas art?

A1: Vanitas is a specific genre of art in which the artist uses morbid symbolic objects (such as skulls, rotting food, fading flowers etc.) in order to produce in the viewer's mind an acute awareness of the brevity of life and the inevitability of death. The origins of the term can be traced back to the latin biblical aphorism: vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas (Ecclesiastes 1:2) [Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.]

The style rose to prominence in the 16th and 17th century, primarily in the Netherlands, Flanders and France. Though it lost much of its popularity around 1650, its influence remains clearly visible in many modern works of art, such as Paul Cezanne's Pyramid of Skulls.

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