Memento mori

for Mapleton

This still life is the final painting of 20th century Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Painted in vivid colours, it is a tribute to life in spite of her rapidly deteriorating health. One of the watermelons bears the inscriptions "Viva la Vida" - "Live the Life". from "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
In this composition by 18th Century French painter Jean Simeon Chardin, we see two young boys absorbed in the activity of blowing a soap bubble. During this time, the bubbles served as both an entertaining pastime and as a symbol for the ephemeral nature of life. The theme of the vanitas is touched on here, implying that the boy is lazy and is wasting his time. From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
This piece by the Dutch Baroque painter Gerrit Dou depicts an engaging rendering of light. Coupled with the age of the woman, the candle light represents a traditional symbol of the passage of time. From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
This 19th Century English daguerreotype stereograph by Thomas Richard Williams is an early photographic example of the classic memento mori composition. It contains a human skull, an hourglass, and a book with glasses abandoned mid-read - all are elements suggesting the temporary nature of human life. From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
In this self portrait, Swiss Symbolist painter Arnold Bocklin personifies death as a skeleton looming behind him playing the violin. According to some accounts, the skeleton was painted in later as an afterthought when friends of the artist asked what he was listening to. From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
The use of a jawless skull resting on two femurs as a base for this 18th timepiece is a clever reminder of mortality as death looms closer with each passing minute. Many clocks made today continue to carry the Latin phrase "tempus fugit" meaning "time flees". From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
American artist Georgia O'Keefe became fascinated by the skeletons of cows dotting the landscape of the Southwest - the disastrous result of a drought causing the starvation and death of the animals. The skull is adorned with the kind of artificial flowers that were laid on graves in New Mexico. From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
This painting by the Flemish Baroque painter Jan Fyt depicts spoils of the hunt: the lifeless body of a hare surrounded by dead birds. These elements are also conventions of memento mori still life painting. This genre, also referred to as "vanitas" (Latin for "vanity") often contained subjects such as dead animals or decaying fruit as symbols of mortality. From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
This piece by Los Angeles based sculptor Ricky Swallow explores the traditional conventions of the 17th century Dutch vanitas still life composition from a contemporary perspective; merging and personalizing it with memories of his Australian childhood. From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
This painting by Dutch Post Impressionist artist, Vincent van Gogh depicts sunflowers at the height of their beauty. Cut off from their stems and placed in a vase, we experience their last burst of vitality as they begin to wilt in various stages of decomposition as captured in this painting. From "THE ART OF DYING: MEMENTO MORI THROUGH THE AGES"
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