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Vanitas

Vanitas Still-life        
Hendrick Andriessen (b. before 1607 – d. 1655)
Oil, circa 1650

CROE: i figured we could go back in time a bit
and i found one that has more bubbles!

TARBOT: so that’s the skull of Jesus?
is that what I’m seeing?

CROE: there does appear to be a crown of some sort on it
but i don’t see any thorns per se

TARBOT: oooh, the artist is in the reflection of the candlestick.
way to make a cameo

CROE: haha

TARBOT: speaking of the real crown — English?

CROE: I’m not sure – the painter is Flemmmish
or Flemish rather
mmm, those Flemish are delicious

TARBOT: mmmm
so passage of time, crowns and skulls… “everyone dies, even kings”?

CROE: yes, i think the bubbles and flowers speak to the ephemeral nature of life

TARBOT: I was just going to say – yeah, flowers are pretty and = life

CROE: so the crown on the skull – i guess that could be emphasizing that even kings die
and it could also be, like you said, a reference to Jesus
perhaps the contrast in crowns is important – like after you die, what does it matter if a crown is of gold or of straw?

TARBOT: oooooooh
it matters if you’re a grave robber
I don’t think straw goes for much nowadays
though people will buy just about anything on eBay

TARBOT: the globe is interesting
it’s a rather unappealing version of one

CROE: well the painting is from 1650

TARBOT: yeah but it could have shown Europe at the very least

CROE: are we turned toward the atlantic ocean?

TARBOT: “oh, also… sailing kills, too”

CROE: maybe the globe emphasizes the spheres of the bubbles?
true
and the candlestick

TARBOT: and the candlestick has no light — that’s another death reference, I’d say

CROE: fire will burn down your house

TARBOT: lol
I do really really like the flowers though
they are quite nice
they don’t look real, though
like, gilded with gold
or silvery

CROE: yeah. they probably died before he could finish painting them

TARBOT: do we have a title for it anywhere?

CROE: Vanitas

TARBOT: OH
“vanity kills”
this painting is depressing
I’m trying to find out more about Hendrick’s life
he didn’t live to be very old
though I guess back then, life expectancies were shorter
probably because they went around moping around about vanitas
;)

CROE: it’s a theme. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanitas
“The word is Latin, meaning ’emptiness’ and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity.”

TARBOT: “bubbles, which symbolize the brevity of life and suddenness of death”
and
“brevity, which symbolizes not the way we analyze fine works of art”

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One response to “Vanitas

  1. CL ⋅

    I’m in the candlestick
    I know if I reflect once, I reflect twice
    I show that death comes quick
    Shorty don’t believe me, then come with me tonight
    And I’ll show you
    (What? What?) traaaagic (uh huh uh huh)
    I got the tragic schtick

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