The installation Vanitas by artist Karen Ingham was shown in the Theatrum Anatomicum of the Waag in April 2005. In the arts, vanitas is a type of symbolic work of art especially associated with Northern European still life painting in Flanders and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries, though also common in other places and periods. The word is Latin, meaning "emptiness" and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity.
The seven-day installation consisted of a background of purple velvet with giant number of tulips. When the petals falled, they were captured in vases. Background images created by the artist were shown and the slow decay of the tulips was broadcasted on the internet. Visitors could temporarily enter the Theatrum to follow the slow decay. People were invited to partcipate by sending their thoughts, ideas and images.
Many artists have found inspiration by the historic space of the Theatrum Anatomicum and Frederik Ruysch, famous Dutch anatomist and a pioneer in techniques of preserving organs and tissue who worked at this place.