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[[Image:Le Transi de René de Chalon (Ligier Richier).jpg|thumb|right|Prince of Orange René de Chalons died in battle in 1544, at age 25. His widow commissioned the sculptor Ligier Richier to represent him offering his heart to God, set against the painted splendour ofhis former worldly estate. Church of Saint-Étienne, Bar-le-Ducmarker.]]


In the arts, vanitas is a type of symbolic still life painting especially associated with Northern European painter in Flanders and the Netherlandsmarker in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The word is Latin, meaning "emptiness" and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity. Ecclesiastes from the Bible is often quoted in conjunction with this term. Vanitas vanitatum "Vanity of vanities" is also the title of an oratorio written by Italian Baroque composer Giacomo Carissimi (1604/1605 -1674). Common symbolic motifs in vanitas paintings include skulls, musical instruments, and flowers, all of which are associated with the passage of time, transience, and ephemerality.

The motto of the Harvard Lampoonmarker magazine is Vanitas, a play on Harvard Universitymarker's actual motto, Veritas (Truth).

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