Atomic Vanitas

by Luca Federici

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Natura morta con Teschio, Crocifisso e Vaso con fiori di Ortensia

The work recall Vanitas or still lifes with moralizing purposes in vogue in 1600, which alluded, through the symbolic representation of inanimate objects (flowers, fruits, vegetables, skulls, watches and musical instruments), to the precariousness of human life. In 1600 wars, famines and pestilences anguished the European people, today humanity, in addition to living with the constant threat of increasingly powerful nuclear weapons, must face the coronavirus pandemic everyday. In a few months the Covid-19 has caused thousands of deaths and undermined the economic, health, social and political balance of almost all the affected countries; the consequences of the pandemic are dramatic and are not over yet. My works represent a warning for what could happen if control of the epidemic is lost as well as that of weapons of mass destruction. Also in my depictions there are the characteristic subjects of the seventeenth-century vanitas, but the colors and the bodily nature of the subjects are reduced to a minimum or a monotonous dark shadow: the stylistic language is that of the atomic bomb.


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