Use of Vanitas in Northern Art


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question 1 of 3

Still life paintings ____.

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1. What is the special focus of vanitas paintings?

2. Where did vanitas paintings originate?

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About this Quiz & Worksheet

The Protestant Reformation pushed art away from large paintings of religious images and scenes that were seen as part of the opulence of the Catholic Church and, in their place, a type of still life painting that used symbols to deliver a moral message emerged. This quiz/worksheet combo will help you understand the visual language of Vanitas paintings, and how Northern European artists used flowers, fruit, and other everyday objects to remind viewers of the meaningless nature of material wealth and pleasures and the transience of human existence.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In these assessments you'll be tested on:

  • Characteristics of still life painting
  • Common motifs in Vanitas painting
  • Themes in Vanitas painting
  • Allegory of Vanity by Antonio de Pereda y Salgado
  • The birthplace of Vanitas painting

Skills Practiced

This quiz and worksheet lets students practice the following skills:

  • Information recall - access your knowledge on 16th- and 17th-century Vanitas painting
  • Defining key concepts - ensure you can accurately define main ideas such as still life
  • Knowledge application - use your knowledge of Vanitas painting to answer questions about common symbols and their meanings

Additional Learning

To learn more, review the accompanying lesson titled Use of Vanitas in Northern Art. This lesson covers the following objectives:

  • Understand the factors that led to the emergence of Vanitas painting
  • Recognize examples of Vanitas painting
  • List some of the common motifs in Vanitas painting
  • Know the fundamental theme of Vanitas painting