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The Stadhouder (City Holder) is the most powerful person in the province. As he is immensely rich, he thought that it would be a good idea to make a statement about his adherence to Dutch traditions of modesty and spiritual elevation; an unwritten rule of acceptable behaviour at the time. To achieve this, he commissioned Vermeer to paint a "Vanitas" for his office. These were fashionable pieces that substituted the iconographic images of the past for an arangement of symbolic objects that reflected the new established moral standards.A Vanitas painting with his own portrait would serve as reminder to all visitors that he is fully aware of the transient nature of life and therefore the need to avoid vanities while maintaining a adherence to the new moral standards.
He chose the pieces wisely and following the latest trends set by Claesz from Harlem and Steenwijck in Leiden. On the table, a rich oriental carpet has been pushed aside to make room for a mirror as symbol of vanity and therefore something to be avoided, a skull to remind us that death is unavoidable and that we should not be overwhelmed by earthly riches, an hourglass remind the viewer that time is passing quickly and therefore should be used wisely. The smoke from the extinguished candle symbolizes the ephemeral nature of our existence, wealth and knowledge.
Print ONLY on canvas for a more realistic painting look.
Limited Edition of 10
November 27th, 2012
Viewed 161 Times - Last Visitor from Mississauga, ON - Canada on 12/05/2013 at 11:42 PM