Vanitas

Ian Howard RSA_Vanitas

Vanitas  mixed media on canvas 200 x 230 cm

13a

15a

Vanitas I and II  photographic prints 115 x 103 cm

Vanitas, the silent rush of time passing. Nearly all still lifes include the aspect of vanitas, a lament for the transcience of things: the skull, the overturned wine glass, the extinguished candle. Perhaps also a metaphysical criticism of knowledge and its futility in the face of eternity. The fame of lofty deeds must perish like a dream.

Glass, through its transparency and shine, has the rare virtue of simultaneously animating and distancing the objects it covers, endowing them with both life and death. This is why it was used in the Middle Ages to protect the relics of saints, and later on to add distinction to all cult objects, from material remains that signaled a mystical relation to nature, to those art objects whose status deserved, or simply needed, such veneration.


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