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Cordua, Joannes
Vanitas Still Life with Rembrandt Print, on the Death of Ferdinand III Vanitas Still Life with Rembrandt Print, on the Death of Ferdinand III
1657 1657

This painting is likely one of the first works Cordua painted in Vienna and belongs to a group of four vanitas still lifes made in 1657, on the occasion of the death of Ferdinand III. These paintings all employ basically the same composition: an arrangement of various objects, placed on a stone table inside a niche, all symbolizing the transience of human existence. The present version includes an extinguished candle, a glowing fuse and a globe, placed in front of two folio volumes (a reference to worldly pursuits). Closer to the picture plane is a skull resting on an hourglass (an allusion to the passing of time), illuminated so that it stands out against the background and forms the focus of the arrangement. The painting’s dedication to Ferdinand III is indicated by two medals: one, bearing the Habsburg arms with the imperial eagle, is propped up on the table to the left of the skull, while a second, inscribed with the Emperor’s name, ferdinandus, hangs down over the edge of the table on the right. Suspended just to the left of this medal is a print that can be identified as a reversed version of an etching of the head of an old man made by Rembrandt in 1631, during his Leiden period.

 
Cordua, Joannes
Brussels, Belgium 1630-Prague, Czech Republic 1702 Brussels, Belgium 1630-Prague, Czech Republic 1702
Vanitas Still Life with Rembrandt Print, on the Death of Ferdinand III Vanitas Still Life with Rembrandt Print, on the Death of Ferdinand III
1657 1657
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
56.5 x 45.7 cm
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2013 Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2013
56-003.06

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