Kathleen C. Paul '18, Gettysburg College
Student Research Paper
The jasper skulls in this Curiosity Cabinet sit on the scale atop the touch-ables table. Jasper, a type of impure silica usually a reddish color, is commonly carved for small sculptures, as we see in the skulls.
The reddish tones of both skulls match the overall tone of the cabinet nicely, as well as complimenting the rich medium blue of the walls. Thematically, skulls perfectly align with other objects in the cabinet.
A ubiquitous theme of curiosity cabinets in the 16th and 17th century is the inevitability of death. Symbols of this notion in art work are known as Memento mori or vanitas. Memento mori is derived from Latin, and roughly translates to, “remember you will die.” Vanitas is a related term with similar meaning: all Earthly pursuits are feeble because they are temporary. (excerpt)
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Paul, Kathleen C., "Jasper Skulls and Memento Mori" (2017). Wonders of Nature and Artifice. 27.
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