VANITY VANITAS July 25 2018, 0 Comments

SKULLS IN ART

          
        Symbolism of Chance (Fortuna's Wheel)                      16th-17th French ivory pendant
Skull symbolism is the the attachment of symbolic meaning to the human skull. The most common symbolic use of the skull is as a representation of death and mortality. This iconic image populates the history of art.

      

        

ivory Renaissance memento mori                                    ancient Tibetan citipati skull mask

In many countries memento mori is an object which serves as a warning or reminder of death. Images of death are portrayed in all cultures through the ages, from classic antiquity, medieval Europe, the Victorian era, Buddhism, Japanese Zen, Tibet, and in Native American culture.

   

      18th century was tableau Queen Elizabeth                                        early 20th century postcard

Anika Burgess in her article introduces us to some masterpieces of memento moriMenachem Wecker's article suggests that memento mori is one of art history's spookiest and misunderstood genre.

In the fashion industry today, skull imagery is glorified, and this has been the case since ancient times when people wore bone necklaces to show respect and as signs of power. Today we find skull imagery on jewellery, clothing, ceramics, home furnishings, on stationery, baby clothes, even doggie clothes. The skull also makes its appearance on outlaw biker gear, on vehicles, and in tattoos.

     

Sugar skulls appear all over Mexico for Day of the Dead celebrations. Mexican folk art abounds with fantastical images of the skull. 

Death was once defined as the cessation of heartbeat. But now without a functioning heart or lungs, life can sometimes be sustained with a combination of life support devices, organ transplants and pacemakers. My emergency trips to the hospital for heart complications have saved my life. Early detection and state-of-the-art treatment for cancer have saved many lives. My life was one of them.

I know a truth: No matter one's station in life, the Dance Macabre unites all.

My near death experiences have inspired me to explore the symbolic depictions of death in art. My skull art collection had begun.

Hasta luego amigos.

Val