- Vanitas is vanity, or a piece of art that reminds people of mortality and that material things are temporary.
An example of vanitas is a painting of skulls and rotting food.
A vanitas still life.
vanitas definition by Webster's New World
- vanity; futility
- a work of art containing symbols of mortality or the impermanence of material things; esp., a 17th-cent. Dutch painting of this kind
Origin: Classical Latin
of or relating to this genre: the vanitas tradition