Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vanitas

V was going to be for van Gogh, but everyone pretty much knows loads about him already.  Therefore, I choose Vanitas instead.

Vanitas is a genre of still life painting that contains objects representing the transient nature of earthy existence.  These paintings were popular in the Neatherlands in the early 17th century.  The paintings often contained skulls to remind us of the certainty of death, as well as other objects like burning candles, watches and hourglasses to representing the brevity of life.  You can also find symbols of earthly pleasures, wealth and power to remind us that "you can't take it with you". 

Vanitas Still Life, Pieter Claeszoon, 1625

Vanitas, Jacob de Gheyn (III), 1603

Vanitas Still Life, Pieter Claeszoon, 1630

Vanitas, Hendrick Andriessen

Copyright Information.  All images are used with permission, are in the public domain, or constitute fair use policy in accordance with educational purposes


  1. Hmm...very creepy....wonder whose skull he was using?!

  2. While I appreciate the skill involved, I wouldn't be able to hang a painting like this on my wall. Like JoJo said...very creepy!

  3. I always loved these images due to their OCD with death and how fleeting life is. Although I would not hang this in my home I love these and the last one is wonderful with the blues

  4. I love these, I think I've seen this work intepreted before, but not the original pics.

    Love skulls in art and jewellery!

    Curling Stones for Lego People

  5. Amazing the message and contrast between the delicate rendering of the rose and the stark reality of the skull. Not your typical sofa painting. I have seen some of this work, but the term 'Vanitas' as a genre of art is new to me. I'm guessing it has something to do with 'Vanity/Vanities'. Good job getting the face in the Beaded're amazing.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  6. I love your post. I knew about this kind of art but didn't know it was called Vanitas. This name is a good reminder that our earthly vanities mean nothing when we are dead. Let's enjoy life each day. Carpe diem vita brevis.

  7. didn't know about this style - thanks! learned something new :) I can't believe how quickly you're beading through the alphabet- and loving the face in this one

  8. I like the first picture. I feel like it's a warning.

  9. I took a bit of time to revisit your blog. You certainly find some interesting hops to join. This artist hop is amazing! I fell in love with this fellow's work. Had never heard of him before. I've been making a list of things I want to do in my jewelry work to challenge myself and one of the things I jotted down was to find inspiring artwork. Now I know right where to come, LOL. You have done the research, I'll just have to choose some of the art. However do you find the time, Liz? I'm not at all familiar with bead embroidery but it looks like it takes hours and hours of time. I'm such an impatient person.....well, I know I could never do it myself. I bought the most amazing cabochon the other day and have looked and looked at it, trying to figure out how to wire it and not hide its beauty. Bead embroidery would be so much better I thought to myself. I may have to put it in clay instead so it does not get lost in the wire. Your creations inspired me to look beyond the wire and back to my other habits.

  10. Beading a cab can be simple and quick, you might want to give it a try :-)

    I get a bit zen about my bead embroidery. If I'm in a quiet creative place, time ceases to have much meaning. I did get a little burned out after doing the alphabet. Soon my rest will be over and I'll start making stuff again.

    I love art, it nourishes me. If I was able to find a few things that could inspire you I feel grateful.


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