Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cool momento mori pre-Halloween, Vanitas, the transience of pleasures and life

Fiona Krüger’s Watches “Memento Mori”

Herman Henstenburgh, 1667 – 1726 | Vanitas Still Life | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Katsukawa Shunsho | The actors Ichikawa Danjuro V as a skeleton, spirit of the renegade monk Seigen… | Edo period, 1783 | The Art Institute of Chicago | Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago

Day of the Dead, Halloween, and the scary side of ARTstor

Halloween stems from the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain (roughly, “summer’s end”) held on October 31–November 1, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. The festival was integrated into All Saints Day, a Catholic holiday observed on November 1 to honor saints and martyrs. The evening before All Saints Day was referred to as All Hallows’ Eve, which eventually became Halloween.

Vanitas 18th Century Robert Dighton titled, “An Essay on Woman: Life and Death Contrasted

Vanitas Figure,1700's Europe

19th C Anatomical Venus, Unknown Modeller and Workshop, Museu d'Història de la Medicina de Catalunya

Ignaz Günther, approx. 1756

‘Hell’O Monsters’ (Brussels, Europe)
Ignaz Günther

Fernando Vicente Vanitas

Hand Carved "Momento Mori" Skeleton Rocking Chair
A intricately carved mahogany "momento morie" rocking chair depicting a skeleton figure on rockers terminating in dragons. Probably modeled after the Mid 19th Century Russian example as illustrated in 19th century European Furniture by Christopher Payne. Vincent Price, a well-known actor in horror films, owned a whole set of skeleton chairs.
 Electric chair covered in butterflies and made entirely out of porcelain by artists Bertozzi and Casoni
 Bouke de Vries Mao Head with Skulls, a life-sized bust of Chairman Mao made out of tiny skulls made out of porcelain

"The original Vanitas paintings were concerned with the impermanence of man and his earthly pleasures in the face of death. Symbols used included human skull, as well as books, candles, hourglasses, mirrors, flowers, insects, soap bubbles and shadows, all combined to create both a literal and abstract symbolism suggestive of the transience of life.
The new show Vanitas: The Transience of Earthly Pleasures displays original works dating back to the 17th century alongside painting and sculpture from 27 international contemporary artists."

Coffins From Ghana

Coca Cola Coffin: Young carpenters open a coffin shaped in the form of a Coca Cola bottle in Teshie, a suburb of Accra January 22, 2004.

"Since pre-Columbian times, El Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead has been celebrated in Mexico and other Latin countries. This is a very special ritual, as it is the day in which the living lovingly remember their departed relatives. 
For centuries the inhabitants of Mexico have created fascinating folk art expressions of the Day of the Dead: magnificently decorated skulls and catrinas, fabulous candelabra, trees of life and  attractive skeletons.  Skilful artists transform wood, clay, tin and paper into wonderful  Day of the Dead sculptures many inspired by Jose Guadalupe Posada."

Maria Jimenez
Wood Carved Skull
Bat by Luis Pablo

“Be fully awake to everything about you … the more you can appreciate & get a full measure of joy & happiness out of life,” Jackson Pollock’s dad once wisely advised his 16-year-old son.

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