This work was on display when we visited the 2019 Arts Gold Finalists Exhibition at Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, Alexandra, Central Otago, New Zealand. Our visit was on October 31, 2019.

I cropped this out in order to get a horizontal header pic.


‘Vanitas’ by Nicola McLaren (Dunedin)


Photo taken by Nigel.

Wikipedia has a fair bit of info about  the word ‘Vanitas’  of which I’ll quote one sentence:

“A vanitas is a symbolic work of art showing the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, often contrasting symbols of wealth and symbols of ephemerality and death.”

Text by Liz, photo by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2019)

5 thoughts on “Vanitas

Add yours

  1. Ecclesiastes had a handle on this some millennia ago, as the Wiki article noted. I do love the King James version of the opening verses:

    “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
    What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
    One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.”

    Wiki’s not the final word on all things, of course. I noticed this line, too: “the traditional Christian view being that earthly goods and pursuits are transient and worthless.” Transient, yes; worthless, no.

    I wonder if the men circling the bolt ever feel like bolting?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, before posting I checked the NIV and KJV and much preferred the KJV, but in the end I thought I’d keep the post short.. I’m delighted you’ve shared this in the comments though.. thank you Linda! And I was very amused by your question at the end 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank YOU for your incisive, eloquent comment Ellen. I found this work really interesting but struggled to understand it. One reason I chose to post it was the hope that someone would shed more light on the meaning. You’ve summed it up so neatly.. I’m in awe!


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