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William Dyce RA, Omnia vanitas

Omnia vanitas, 1848

William Dyce RA (1806 - 1864)

RA Collection: Art

In this painting, Omnia Vanitas (i.e. 'All is vanity'), Dyce demonstrated his interests in historical and religious art while also alluding to a very Victorian pre-occupation, the 'fallen woman', who is represented here in the guise of the repentant Mary Magdalene. Dyce was a close friend of the great Liberal politician and future prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone, who began a campaign to 'redeem' prostitutes at around this time.

Inspired by early Renaissance painting and the work of the 19th-century German Nazarene School, Dyce's composition is classically arranged with the shape of the figure forming a triangle against an uncluttered background. He uses a limited palette of tones but with cool clear colours.

Object details

Omnia vanitas
William Dyce RA (1806 - 1864)
Object type
Oil on canvas

627 mm x 750 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Diploma Work given by William Dyce RA accepted 1848

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