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IMAGES (V) – Images of (Cultural) Values

The Conference Proceedings

Edited By Veronika Bernard

This collection of articles offers readers a cross-section of current research on contemporary and historical concepts and representations of (cultural) values as documented in popular culture, public space, the arts, works of literature and in ethnic contexts. The contributors to this volume are from the US, Algeria, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Albania, Serbia, Turkey, and Austria. Their very different cultural, ideological, scientific, academic and non-academic perspectives and backgrounds allow insights from many different viewpoints.
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Sibel Almelek İşman (Izmir/Turkey) - The Vanitas: Moral Values in European Art

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Sibel Almelek İşman

The Vanitas: Moral Values in European Art

Abstract The Vanitas is a type of still life picture depicting a collection of objects symbolizing the brevity of life. The Vanitas was especially popular in Dutch art of the 17th century. The aim of this article is to examine Vanitas pictures which have become vehicles for teaching moral lessons.

Vanitas-Bilder verkörpern einen bestimmten Typ Stilleben, das eine Sammlung von Objekten darstellt, die die Kürze des Lebens symbolisieren. Vanitas-Bilder waren insbesondere in der holländischen Kunst des 17. Jahrhunderts beliebt. Ziel dieses Artikels ist es, Vanitas-Bilder zu untersuchen, die zum Vehikel der moralischen Belehrung geworden sind.

The Vanitas is a type of still life picture depicting a collection of objects symbolizing the brevity of life and transience of all earthly pleasures and achievements. Typical motives are a skull, an hourglass, a watch, a smoking candle and a flower losing its petals. Such paintings were especially popular in Dutch and Spanish art of the 17th century (cf. Chilvers 2009, p. 646).

Vanitas still lives reflect the pride Dutch citizens held in their material possessions. But Calvinist morality and humanity tempered that pride (cf. Kleiner 2010, p. 568). Still lives exist above all to delight the senses; but they can also be tinged with a melancholic air. As a result of Holland’s conversion to Calvinism, these visual feasts became vehicles for teaching moral lessons. Most Dutch Baroque...

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