The term vanitas derives from the adjective Latin “vanus”, which means “emptiness”, “futility”, “worthlessness”. This painting genre emerged in the middle ages, as funerary art, and evolved to a more explicitly macabre imagery in the 15th century – when the fascination with death and decay increased by the thirst of knowledge of the human body (proper of the Renaissance). Later, vanitas paintings became a crucial part of 16th and 17th centuries netherlandish art, known as the Golden Dutch Age painting. These still life paintings are characterised by the strong moral connotations intrinsic to Christian symbolism, exalting the transience of earthly life. These paintings enhance the futility of pleasure and the certainty of death through ephemeral and vain symbols, and the memento mori presents itself as the main motif. Some of the most common symbols (which represent death, decay and ephemerality of life) are: skulls, rotten fruit, bubbles, hourglasses, musical instruments and seashells.