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Definition of Vanitas

Vanitas Definition from Arts & Humanities Dictionaries & Glossaries
JM Latin-English Dictionary
N F
emptiness| untruthfulness; futility| foolishness| empty pride
Art Glossary
From the Latin for "'vanity."' These are still-life paintings--often featuring a skull--that try to remind the viewer of how temporary human life really is. In the 17th Century, these paintings were very popular in Holland.
Vanitas Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
Wikipedia English - The Free Encyclopedia
In the arts, vanitas is a type of symbolic work of art especially associated with still life painting in Flanders and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries, though also common in other places and periods. The Latin word means "vanity" and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. Ecclesiastes  from the Bible is often quoted in conjunction with this term. The Vulgate (Latin translation of the Bible) renders the verse as Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas. The verse is translated as Vanity of vanities; all is vanity by the King James Version of the Bible. Vanity is used here in its older (especially pre-14th century) sense of "futility". Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless is the rendering by The New International Version of the Bible.

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