Vanitas – A Contemporary, Personal Version

Back in May a fellow blogger, Frances Allitt, wrote on her blog Before the Art a piece about the tradition of ‘Vanitas’ depictions in Western Art History. It was illustrated with fine 16th and 17th century oil paintings similar to this example from the collection at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Stilleven, Grueber not de Heem

Still Life – Johann Friedrich Grueber, 1662-1681

Towards the end of her post she uploaded her own ‘Vanitas’ photograph and invited her readers, us, to have a go too. So I thought I’d try some staging and shots and create my own Vanitas portrait.

Vanitas photograph

Of course some objects in the photograph are particular for my life, and other items displayed are those often found in a formal Vanitas painting. The dying flowers and the spent candle are symbols of the transience of life. The traditional memento mori image is a skull, but I’ve used an alternative image to signify death and corruption, the rotting peach.

I have also included two photographic portraits one of my late mother and one of my great-grandmother. Both pictures were taken when they were young women. In this photo my great-grandmother was 18 years old and already suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. She died when she 36 years old.

Vanitas Close-up

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About agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.
This entry was posted in Art History, Family & Design and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Vanitas – A Contemporary, Personal Version

  1. Reblogged this on miaismissinginaction's Blog and commented:
    doing a-level art researching.. im very tired

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