The vanities, a symbol used throughout the ages
If long tete death has been associated with hard to cook like the Hells Angels or rock music fans, it has become in recent years an object of decoration or art present even in the most traditional houses. Far from its bad reputation, death head has finally regained its former prestige representations.
So what is the history of tete de mort? How have they vanities FCT through time? How to integrate them into our decoration?
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«Vanity of vanities, all is vanity», this quote av third century. AD is part of the Old Testament text. It appears increasingly in the altarpieces of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, in Latin on banners beside a crane at the foot of the Cross. To qualify works pictorial by weighing and death? Human works powerfully symbolic objects, the term «vanity» is called for in France in 1756 after the success of Chardin painter who gives a still life its credentials.
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If since ancient death fascinates the memento mori ( «Remember you will die») was recited during the coronation of emperors. In the Middle Ages or death is part of everyday life (period of wars, great plague) that representations of skeletons and skulls of multiply. Life is fleeting, we are all mortal and facing death all equal.
Masaccio, great artist of the early Italian Renaissance was serious about his sepulcher: » I was what you are and what I am, you will be too. « Thus saith the future humanity has extended the skeleton on his tomb.
This philosophical thought on the ephemeral nature of life is originally in Holland in the seventeenth century, of the vanity as a symbolic still life.
This current will develop throughout Europe until the eighteenth century or the representation of style will cool a bit.
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What recurring items in a vanity? The passage of time that passes, the brevity of life are evoked by hourglasses, candles that burn or clocks. The skull, of course, evokes death, which is sure to happen. The effects of time are also often represented through the flowers (which fade quickly), fruit (which get damaged), stones (which are split) …
The pleasures of life are considered «futile». They are only futile and derisive when dying. Thus the «vanities» have elements that make reference to the sciences (eg compass or globe), the arts (music, literature, painting …), has the power and honors (silver parts, medals , jewelry …) and of course to the beauty (mirror …).
Above, a work signed Damien Hirst, which is part of the series Spin Paintings.
Between the eighteenth and twentieth century the vanities are not as popular. But the horrors of two world wars give rise to German Expressionism, with works of surrealist Dali and the representation of the skull takes on another dimension. Previously, death and its symbol, the skull, were look with humility and expectation. Both became a tool of claim that can be found in contemporary art and subcultural movement of neo-Gothic.
In our contemporary societies which are so afraid to grow old and fade, death, bare as a bone radiography, is a recurrent theme among many artists, Damien Hirst from English to Chinese painter Yan Pei-Ming.
The twenty-first century death in the Western world has become something of a taboo subject.
With humor, horror or kitsch that the skull is represented and takes a place in our interior through the? Art works but also the objects often deco funny, ironic. The crane or vanity is present everywhere, not to remind us of our inevitable death but to mock. Humour, our weapon against the fear of death.
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How to integrate the representation of the skull in our interior?
If you can afford it, you will find editions of Damien Hirst skulls from 4000 euros. Otherwise many brands have created the deco objects like vases, pots has pencils, piggy banks … in the shape of skulls. In resin, plaster or glass, black, golden or white, they are available to put some black humor in the rooms of your home.
AND YOU ?
Have you integrated skulls to your deco? Share your photos!