The sculptures bear a skull and hourglass, vanitas symbols that remind us of the finite nature of life.
Vanitas is a theme in art
The word vanitas is Latin and means vanity and emptiness.
With, for example, skulls, extinguished candles, wilted flowers,
soap bubbles, decayed books, musical instruments, clocks, hourglasses
or toppled glasses, they represent the vanity, temporality and meaninglessness of the of the earthly.
"Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas" is a well-known saying derived from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes: 'Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas.
Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity'.
It urges the viewer to focus on the eternal.
Southern Netherlands, circa 1720