No, I'm not turning to the dark side.
No, I'm not Gothic.
No, It's not Halloween.
No, This is not a creepy blog spot. (gosh, I hope not! ;)
No, No, No, and Yes...
I owe each of you who left me a comment on my last post and those of you who sent me an email "a huge thank you" for being so honest about my "new" background. I know I can always depend on you for honest answers! :)
Some of you love it, some of you not so much and some of you love it but really dislike (& I'm putting it nicely) the skull.
I'm smiling as I just love all of your honest opinions and I'm so happy that you expressed your feelings, that's exactly what I wanted to hear from you.
Do you love art? ~ I love art.
Do you love all kinds of art? ~ No, I don't. It just depends.
However, I do love art that has meaning. And, what I mean by art having meaning is...art that I can live by instead of just having an opinion of loving it or not.
Do you know what a "Vanitas painting" is? I didn't until a few days ago. But once I saw it, I loved it, I read about it, I found it's meaning and I really loved it thereafter.
Vanitas is a term referring to the arts, learning and time. The word is Latin, meaning "vanity." It is often depicted in still life paintings by Northern European painters (Dutch, Netherlands) and symbolized by the presence of different symbols such as a skull, a rotten fruit, a watch and a musical instrument.
It is a message that tells the viewer that the pleasure of life only lasts a moment: because time is limited, live fully the present moment. The symbolism of a skull or rotten fruit remind us of mortality. Musical instruments show the vanity of music; as soon as the music starts, it will die. Music is an ephemeral moment explaining that the return is impossible; it begins and it ends.
'Vanitas' paintings were warnings that you should not be concerned about the wealth and possessions you accumulate in this world as you can't take them with you when you die.
Harmen Steenwyck's (1612-1656) Still Life:
An Allegory of the Vanitas of Human Life
(located in the National Gallery of London)
Vanitas still life paintings depicted objects that had a symbolic meaning such as: a shell as a symbol of birth, a skull as a symbol of death, and books as to represent knowledge.
So if you look at the above art closely, you will see that birth (the shell) is innocent and rare, then life (the lamp) is surrounded by knowledge (the books), wealth (the silk), the jug containing water and oil (the essentials of life), the sword (power and craftsmanship), the chronometer (time) and the skull (the passing of life) are just items of our inevitable outcome.
These types of paintings were essential religious works of art cautioning the viewer to be careful about placing too much importance on the wealth and pleasures of this life as they could be an obstacle on the path to salvation.
Don't we all forget this sometimes????
(The word "Vanitas" comes from a quotation from the book of Ecclesiastes 1:2 "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.")
By NO means am I preaching here, this post is about ART and LIFE...two things which I cherish deeply. Very deeply.
Vanitas paintings were popular in countries with strict Protestant and Catholic Christian principles such as Holland and Spain. They were purchased by the rich who actually possessed a conscience about the wealth they had accumulated. Go figure! However the genre had an inbuilt weakness in the irony that the paintings were collectible commodities and eventually, became 'Vanitas' objects themselves!
This is the original Vanitas painting of my background below... but my background only shows a snippet of it (which included the skull).
David Bailly (1584-1657) Vanitas Self Portrait
(located in the Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden)
Interestingly enough, Mr. Bailly was Harmen Steenwyck's uncle and teacher of this fine art. And at the age of 60, he painted this Vanitas self portrait before his death. Note all of the details of his life that it includes.
So there you have it. There's the story to my "new" background.
I know that some of you are not fond of skulls or death, but they DO have a meaning and sometimes it's not as gruesome as you think.
Think of yourself and what items would you have on your Vanitas self portrait???
You are alive with an opportunity for life, love, happiness, prosperity and creativity. You have the option of adoring your very own religion in hopes of an eternity of salvation. However, you will leave something behind in this world...skull and all. And when that time comes, it's only a symbol of the life you lived, here on earth and you cannot take it with you.
I don't know about you, but sometimes when I get all caught up in this blogging world, I tend to forget who I am. As I'm looking at all the beauty out there such as what's hot? Do I have enough followers? What's in? Should I host a give away to get people to come visit and get my name out there? Am I posting interesting things? Do people love to come here? ... I get lost in all of it and then it just doesn't feel right anymore. Right then and there, I need stop and realize that even though I am here, online with all of you, I still have to be ME. And on the other hand, I want you to come here because you want to! Not because what's on my side bar or on my background, etc.
We would all be dead inside if we chased the thought of being like everybody else. I don't want to ever feel that way. That would be my creepy vision of a skull, haha! I love to visit you and leave you a comment to let you know that you have inspired me, made me laugh or to let you know that I'm thinking of you all the while loving our creative differences.
So go out, time is ticking, be creative, and most of all, be YOU! And be cautious of placing too much importance on the wealth and pleasures of this life as they could be an obstacle on the path to salvation, whatever you believe salvation to be in your heart & soul :)
If you've made it this far down, thank you. Thank you for always visiting me. Thank you for leaving words of encouragement. But most of all, Thank you for being you and letting me be me.
In November, when my article was published in Artful Blogging, that meant the world to me but it was quickly shadowed by my father's death just a few days later. My quote that I live by was in my article. For a while, I had it on top of my blog right under my banner. I have put it back up there again so I don't loose myself...ever again ;)
oh...and this background may not stay for long. I just really loved the meaning of Vanitas art and thought I'd share it with you...