As Director of New York-based Carlton Hobbs, LLC, antiques dealer Carlton Hobbs focuses on purchasing, conserving, and restoring significant European and British pieces crafted from the 1600s to the 1800s. On his weblog at www.carltonhobbs.net, the gallery ownerexamines specific types of antiques based on era, function, and thematic approach.
In a recent article, the collector and dealerexamines “memento mori” as a theme of artistic expression with a focus on reminding people ofmortality through the figurative use of skeletons,skulls, and other symbols associated with death.He notes that while such imagery dates back at least as far as mosaics at Pompeii, it attained more frequent use during the European MiddleAges. A key focus was on the medieval church’s notion of the collective morality of the Christian world.
By the time of the Renaissance and thesucceeding Age of Enlightenment, the purpose of memento mori imagery had shifted to encouraging individuals to consider their own temporal nature and the personal meaning of mortality. Carlton Hobbs notes that advances in medicine over the past century have led to increased longevity and a correspondingdecrease in the desire to dwell on one’s own end as expressed in artistic terms.