Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of still life painting, symbolic of mortality, characteristic of Dutch painting of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Etymologies

From Latin vanitas (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Some of her pictures are almost an updated index to the symbols used in vanitas, those treatises-in-oil that comment on the transience of time and earthly life: clocks, flickering candles, half-empty wine goblets.

    2008 November 04 « One-Minute Book Reviews

  • The word vanitas referred to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity, so vanitas painting were full of symbols reflecting this depressing world view.

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • Brandon Dorman scatters the pages with objects found in Dutch vanitas paintings — a skull, a clock, flickering candles.

    2008 April 05 « One-Minute Book Reviews

  • The skull that Witkin's "Van Gogh" peers at is real, but its purpose in being there is to make the painting a "vanitas" which is a tradition that references the history of art.

    John Seed: Jerome Witkin: Painting History, Memory and Fantasy

  • Only the crudest of the vanitas set ever thought you had to get

    SeeLight:

  • The greatest masters preferred the subtlest vanitas, modestly trusting to fruit baskets to whisper ashes to ashes, relying on the poignant exactness of oranges to release like a citrus mist the always fresh fact of how hard we resist how briefly we're pleased.

    SeeLight:

  • Her dark, textural paintings "draw upon sources as disparate as 17th century Dutch vanitas paintings, the works of Lucas Cranach, and the couture of Chanel and Comme des Garçons."

    Spotlight On English Artist Anj Smith, Texture, And Magic Realism

  • Her dark, textural paintings "draw upon sources as disparate as 17th century Dutch vanitas paintings, the works of Lucas Cranach, and the couture of Chanel and Comme des Garçons."

    Spotlight On English Artist Anj Smith, Texture, And Magic Realism

  • Standing sentry across the street from Room & Board and due north of Cafe St Ex, our hipster acts something like a 21st century vanitas --- not a reminder of death, exactly, but certainly a reminder of change.

    Do you [heart] gentrification?

  • You may as easily choose to include all of these items as none, whatever is to your taste, as long as it is recognisable as a vanitas or small breakfast or something of that nature.

    The Stream and The Torrent

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.