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Doornbos, R.
Vanitas Still Life with a Calendar and Musical Instruments Vanitas Still Life with a Calendar and Musical Instruments
around 1665 around 1665

This still life presents a number of objects on a table: a medieval stringed instrument called a rebec is shown leaning against a skull, with a globe behind on the right, while in the foreground are playing cards, a calendar, a watch, a flute and a book of music. The scene is lit from the upper left by a suspended oil lamp. The picture conveys the vanitas message powerfully and unequivocally, warning against the emptiness of worldly pursuits and desires in the face of the inevitability and finality of death. Clustered in the centre, the skull, calendar and watch remind the viewer of time’s passing, life’s brevity and the eternity to come. The lamp, ultimately to be extinguished, reinforces the allusion. The musical accessories have a dual function, evoking at once the transience of sound but also the pleasure of worldly things. The playing cards offer a similar double message, cautioning against trifling amusement but also conjuring the vicissitudes of chance.

 
Doornbos, R.
Vanitas Still Life with a Calendar and Musical Instruments Vanitas Still Life with a Calendar and Musical Instruments
around 1665 around 1665
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
overall: 55.9 cm x 68.6 cm
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2014 Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2014
57-001.09

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