19th Century Italian Sculpture White Carrara Skull, Black Marquina Marble Bust

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Material Marble
Room Living Room
Period 19th Century
Product Code ‌0091-0006E


This Italian 19th century hand carved sculpture featuring a bust with skull head is made of white Carrara marble and black Marquina veined marble. The bust of a man with an ancient toga and the skull above rests on a round white Carrara marble molded socle. This male sculpture refers to the tradition of Vanitas or Memento Mori, theme related to the caducity of human existence faced in different epochs in the history of art both in painting and in sculpture. This sculpture, besides being very well executed is certainly an object that emanates a great fascination especially for the messages and teachings it wants to communicate related to the hope of a life after death and to the enjoyment of the material goods and pleasures that life offers. It may be the perfect object to be displayed in a curiosities cabinet or on the study room’s desk. Very good condition and beautiful antique patina. Memento mori is Latin for “Remember death.” The phrase is believed to originate from an ancient Roman tradition in which a servant would be tasked with standing behind a victorious general as he paraded through town to remind him that even though he had returned victorious from a battle he was still a mortal man. During Middle Ages Memento Mori was a medieval theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits with a hopeful approach to a glorious afterlife. During the Italian and European Renaissance the approach to the theme of vanitas changes, artists want to communicate to enjoy life with its earthly pleasures as everything is fleeting. The Vanitas movement had its maximum expression in Holland during 17th-18th centuries. The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) gave rise to a period of starvation and the art related to the Vanitas theme conveyed this sense of insecurity, later during 18th century Dutch artists used this theme in response to prosperity and attachment to world-pleasures and material goods. The concept of Vanitas can also be found in contemporary art among those artists who use their art for ethical purposes to denounce the way in which the human being is exploiting the world we are living and the way humans are depleting the resources of nature. In any case this concept brings a message of joy and hope. One interpretation could be linked to the hope of a life after death and the second in the urgency to enjoy the beauties that life offers us during our passage on earth. Measures: H. 39 cm, W. 27 cm, D. 14 cm.

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