"Vanity of vanities. All is vanity." Ecclesiastes 1:2 succinctly describes the vanitas movement that began in response to the prosperity in 18th century Holland. Vanitas artists devoted themselves to communicating to the prosperous public that things of this world--pleasures, money, beauty, power--are not everlasting properties. Rather, the nature of life and the world is fleeting, finite, and temporary. Artists use significant symbols such as skulls, wilting flowers, and hour glasses to convey this theme throughout their works. The movement has continued through today, as artists combat prevalent prosperity in the post-modern West. Artists take on one of two approaches within this theme. The first is a hopeful approach, comparing the fleeting and vain nature of earthly things to the eternal nature of a glorious after life. The second approach does not point to a transcendent future, but rather speaks to the fleeting nature of existence itself. Their works proclaim: this life is all there is, so do not let it pass by before enjoying all of its pleasures. The purpose of this exhibit is to explore the theme of vanitas as portrayed in the 17th century and today, while also comparing and contrasting the works of art that offer a sense of hope in the after life or a sense of urgency to enjoy the present.