Although everything worked out in the end, the message of the store was clear. Vanity is not a good trait to have, yet people these days are transfixed at beautifying themselves to feed their vanity. Vanity was the inspiration behind the late Charles Allan Gilbert’s illusion called “All is Vanity.”
The Inspiration behind “All is Vanity” Illusion
Charles Allen Gilbert was born on September 3, 1873 and passed away on April 20, 1929. He lived a prosperous life where his work was often used as an example to show people the art of creating illusions. One of his widely praised illusion is “All is Vanity.” The idea to create the illusion after he began to read the biblical verse, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity,” which refers to the pride and vanity of a man.
However, in the world of art, vanity refers to women preoccupied with preserving her beauty. After reading the biblical verse and taking into account art’s representation of a woman, he created the “All is Vanity” illusion.
What is the “All is Vanity” Illusion?
The “All is Vanity” illusion features a woman sitting behind a vanity mirror looking at her image, but there is more to the picture than just a woman and her vanity mirror. The artist drew a human skull, which serves as the focal point to place the vanity mirror in.
The skull in the picture represents the phrase “remember you will die,” reminding people that no one lives forever. The concept of the illusion is quite scary, as it sends a message to people that vanity shouldn’t be relegated as the most important thing in your life, as in the end, everyone looks the same — the skull.
The message of the illusion really spoke to people and was published in magazines, newspapers, and everywhere on the internet. Even today, the illusion resonates with people, reminding them of how vanity and pride are two traits that are still very much alive in today’s modern culture.
With the invention of Photoshop, camera filters, and apps that make you look beautiful by erasing all your perfections are readily downloaded. Most people are still occupied about taking the perfect “selfie” for instance, whereas magazines retouch pictures of celebrities to enhance their beauty. Instead, people shouldn’t be too concerned about perfecting their outside, but should try to perfect their inner beauty. So, the message behind Charles Allen Gilbert illusion called “All is Vanity” falls upon deaf ears, as it’s admired for its beauty and not its message.
You may also be interested to see our Tom French gallery. Tom's work includes lots of Skull illusions.