This still life oil painting is a play on vanitas paintings, a genre of still life that emerged during the 16th century. These beautifully painted, highly symbolic works of art focused on immortality and the impermanence of worldly pleasures. In part they were a commentary on such desires. The genre emerged during a time of religious unrest and signs of rising urbanization. Vanitas contained many motifs including skulls, candles, time pieces, jewels, rotting fruit, and objects of opulence.
The paintings that I plan to work on this winter will focus on similar objects but rendered in a more abstract and colorful way. Vanitas tend to be very realistic and somewhat dark and serious in aura from my perspective. My more light hearted interpretation stems from a desire to take life a little less seriously these days. And while I think accumulation of goods can cloud mans true spirit; I think having pleasurable experiences or things can be uplifting depending upon the motivation for having them.
For this piece in particular, I liked the idea of adding cards this is an object characteristic to some vanitas paintings as are books and clocks. The clock for me represents aging and I didn’t completely see how much this is part of my current awareness until I was sitting reflecting on the piece while it was in various stages of development. The teapot is vintage silver from my mother which I acquired after her passing some years ago. It’s very ornate and shiny, not something I would use today but reminds me of my parents entertaining when I was growing up. It was fun to put this together and reflect on the personal symbolism as well as the historical context.
I hope you enjoy the painting and look forward to the series as it develops. If you have any questions please contact me. Thank you!