Hippocrates was a physician who made wrote the following statement in a medical text.
"Ars longa, vita brevis"
In English the saying translates to following statement
"The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate."
What that means is that it takes a long time to acquire and perfect one's expertise and one has but a short time in which to do it. In that sense art lasts forever, while artists die and are forgotten. In essence it refers to how time limits our accomplishments in life.
I came upon this very interesting short story by Scott Alexander (he has some brilliant writings) on Slate Star Codex. Without giving away too much, (please read it yourself, it's worth it) the short story follows a king whose son is dying. The various members of society who could try and help such as doctors, astrologers, witches, and other assorted wise people are not able to do anything regarding the sons sickness, however the alchemists might be able to do something. The story takes you upon the interaction between the alchemists and their willingness to help save the dying son, and on this journey, discover the beauty of art that lasts forever.