"How much rain must fall before we cleanse ourselves? How much rain must fall till we see ourselves? How many sins of this world will tempt? I was taught seven. How much joy did it bring you, that cloud in heaven?" -O.S.T.R.
Vanitas is a classic theme in art popularized by the still life painters of Flanders and the Netherlands during the 16th and 17th centuries. The word translates very simply from Latin into vanity and deals with corporeal and earthly pursuits which are proven ephemeral. The word is also drawn from the biblical book "Ecclesiastes" and is used in the sense of futility.
I have been fascinated by the theme since I was twenty years old. The first time I saw this composition I was transfixed and it became a favorite. Of late I am even more fascinated by human behavior and how much of it revolves around vanity and constant need for attention and approval. I cannot say modern society is at fault as this seems to be a very salient aspect of our nature. Clearly it has fascinated those before me.
The only question I can pose is do we in fact pose questions? It seems we often go through life unaware of our own behaviors because so much seems so important to us at that time. I guess it can happen quite easily when pursuing something or someone beautiful.