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Vanitas VIII and more art by Jiří Anderle

Vanitas VIII, 1983
96 x 64 cm (h x w)
softground etching on paper
not for sale
[Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of the Des Moines Art Center Print Club, 1986.6]

(Gift Print, 1986)

In this astonishing image, Anderle etched fruit and flowers in delicate soft ground, looking back to the 17th-century Dutch fruit and flower still life paintings that inspired his work. Below, the head of a woman is repeated 13 times in full face and profile as she transforms from youth to maturity to old age and from beauty to decrepitude. Vanitas was a popular subject during the 16th and 17th centuries in European art. The meaning of Vanitas comes from Ecclesiastes, which teaches that everything in life—beauty, riches, power—fades. All is emptiness. You can’t take it with you. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
Anderle came to prominence in the United States during the Cold War, along with a group of other artists working behind the Iron Curtain, who were promoted by Jacques Baruch, a dealer in Chicago.



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