Lunchtime lecture: Vanitas, a matter of life and death

Course Dates: 31/10/24
Time: 13:00 - 14:00
Location: Online
Explore the concept of vanitas in works of art from across time and place. Vanitas as a subject, an idea, helps us consider the temporary beauty of our world. Join us for a new perspective on an old subject.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £7.00

Lunchtime lecture: Vanitas, a matter of life and death
  • Course Code: VB993
  • Dates: 31/10/24 - 31/10/24
  • Time: 13:00 - 14:00
  • Taught: Thu, Daytime
  • Duration: 1 session
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Sarah Jaffray

Course Code: VB993

Thu, day, 31 Oct - 31 Oct '24

Duration: 1 session

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Those historic flower and still life paintings are much more than decorative – they are, in many ways, contemplations on mortality, the passage of time and the temporary nature of the material world. Sound morbid? In some ways it is; in other ways it is a celebration of life, its complexity and beauty. Vanitas, artworks that focus on the fleeting nature of life, were not solely meant to damning critiques of vanity; their other side was to revel in the sensuality of being human.

This lunchtime lecture provides a different, hopefully, more complex way to see this subject of art that can be found in every culture in human history. We’ll look at art from around the world and see how the theme of vanitas transcends time and place because it is a distinct part of human experience.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• Definition of vanitas
• Examples of vanitas in art from a wide range of time periods and cultures
• How to use vanitas as a way to understand art.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Define vanitas
• Describe at least one of the artworks we cover in the lecture
• Explain how vanitas might be useful in interpreting artwork.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is open to all.
You should be able to operate basic elements of Zoom, e.g. microphone, camera and log in.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught with lecture and slide presentation. This course does not include an active discussion element, but there will be time for Q&A at the end of the session. This is a live lecture and will not be recorded for reasons related to copyright, data protection and digital infrastructure.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no additional costs.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Search for 'lunchtime lectures' to see all of the talks on offer in the coming year.

Sarah Jaffray Tutor Website

Sarah Jaffray holds a BA and MA in Art History with an emphasis in 19th/20th century France and a minor in the Italian Renaissance. She holds a second MA in Cultural Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. Sarah was a lecturer for several colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area before relocating to London in 2012. She has worked in curatorial roles at the British Museum and Wellcome Collection. In addition to her current teaching at City Lit, Sarah is a lecturer at the University of Arts London and the Tutor Coordinator for City Lit's Art History programme. Her art historical practice focuses on experimental narratives, artistic process, art pedagogy, politics and philosophy. Sarah's current research is focused on translation and empathy.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.