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Thursday Trend Watch: Skulls

The skull is the most common symbolic representation death and mortality.  It’s often used to enforce a feeling of doom and gloom, but it has equally strong and compelling artistic qualities.

Throughout history the use of a skull in the arts has played a significant visual aid, Shakespeare’s Hamlet being one of the most famous scenes in which a skull has (literally) taken center ‘stage’. In Renaissance paintings, artists included skulls as a memento mori (the Latin equivalent of “Valar Morghulis,” or literally, “Remember you must die”), a not so subtle reminder of mortality and the inescapable grasp of death.

DIDDLEMAN / ADOBE STOCK

DIDDLEMAN / ADOBE STOCK

Skulls have taken a much cooler, and arguably chicer, connotation in modern times. In fashion, Alexander McQueen appropriated the skull icon back from its previous style ‘owners’ –  the Hell’s Angels. By garnishing the skull over his own-brand bags and scarves he converted the skull into a covetable trend, ready to wear for those looking to radiate a sense of edginess.

PHOTOAGENTS / ADOBE STOCK

PHOTOAGENTS / ADOBE STOCK

TANYCYA / ADOBE STOCK

TANYCYA / ADOBE STOCK

 

The skull is also of momentous cultural importance. It is, of course, a widely use image for Halloween. It has a more colorful counterpart in Mexico, where serves a symbol of the Day of the Dead celebrations (this year falling on October 31st), emblazoned on masks (calacas in Spanish) and often appearing in the form of sweets and chocolates.

HSTRONGART / ADOBE STOCK

HSTRONGART / ADOBE STOCK

TRAPEZOID13 / ADOBE STOCK

TRAPEZOID13 / ADOBE STOCK

Discover skulls and skeletons in every artistic form in our dedicated Skull gallery.

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