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The Daily Book of Art by David Schmidt, Rebecca J Razo, Elizabeth T. Gilbert, Amy Runyen, Sharon Robinson, Gabriel Guzman, Dylan Gilbert, Colin Gilbert

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image DAY 205 A PICTURE’S WORTH 1000 200 WORDS

Vanitas

WILLEM CLAESZ. HEDA, 1628

 

This rather ominous work by Dutch artist Willem Claesz. Heda belongs to a genre of symbolic still life paintings popular in the 1500s–1600s. These paintings, of which Heda’s work serves as an example, were used to communicate essential lessons about life’s brevity and the emptiness of earthly pleasures and possessions. In fact, vanitas is a Latin word that translates to “emptiness.” A Biblical passage from the book of Ecclesiastes was often associated with these paintings, most of which were titled Vanitas: “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity,” or as a more modern ...

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