Life is short, Art is long

2014-09-06 23:17 | Comments: 0

The art gallery in Rousse, Bulgaria is proclaiming an old proverb by Hippocrates in its Latin form: Vita brevis, ars longa. What does it mean?

Photo credit: Viki Secrets

Painter sculpture @ Ruse Art Gallery "Художествена галерия Русе"

Art Gallery Ruse "Художествена галерия Русе"

Hi, the art gallery in Rousse, which is situated in a communist-style building from the 1970ies, is greeting its visitors with the first two lines of the following dramatic proverb by Hippocrates:

Vita brevis,
ars longa,
occasio praeceps,
experimentum periculosum,
iudicium difficile.

which can be translated to:

Life is short,
and art long,
opportunity fleeting,
experience perilous,
and decision difficult.

Hippocrates, who was an ancient Greek physician, used this saying as the opening statement in a medical text and so the word "art" may originally meant "technique, craft".

Hence its interpretation is twofold. The more general interpretation of this famous aphorism is that it takes a long time to acquire and perfect one's expertise, but one only has a short time in which to excersise it. In the context of fine art, it can also be read as "Life is short, Art eternal".

Ars Longa Vita Brevis @ Ruse Art Gallery "Художествена галерия Русе"

Ruse Art Gallery "Художествена галерия Русе"

Ruse Art Gallery "Художествена галерия Русе"

Painter sculpture @ Ruse Art Gallery "Художествена галерия Русе"

Hour glass sculpture @ Ruse Art Gallery "Художествена галерия Русе"

Painter sculpture @ Ruse Art Gallery "Художествена галерия Русе"

Painter with brush sculpture @ Ruse Art Gallery "Художествена галерия Русе"

Only time limits our accomplishments in life.

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