100515 | BELGIUM. Vanité bronze Medal.
100515 | BELGIUM. Vanité Bronze Medal. Struck 1911. Memento Mori (38mm, 24.99 g, 12h). By E. de Bremaecker.
Head of young woman right; in her hair, the features of an elderly woman left / VANITE QU'ES-TU? (vanity, what are you?), skull left. Edge: Plain, though clasp and loop attached.
Médailles Historiques III 148. Choice About Uncirculated. Warm yellow-brown surfaces, with a few scattered marks. Very rare, with a reported mintage of around 50 pieces.
Designed by the famous Belgian sculptor and medalist, Eugène Jean de Bremaecker, this moving piece features the concept of vanitas (vanity in Latin), a genre of art juxtaposing life and death, ultimately leaving the viewer with the feeling of life's transience. Arrangements may contain an array symbols, such as those of wealth and opulence, along with those that are more ephemeral and mundane, and, most importantly, those which convey life and death–with death often being represented by a human skull. In this straightforward piece, Bremaecker chose a youthful woman to represent the concept of life, and turned to the ubiquitous skull (quite possibly meant to be her own) on the reverse. In an additional nod to life's transience, one can see this woman's journey through life, as her hair contains the faint features of a much older woman–likely her own further down the road.
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