Vanitas Still Life.
 Gijsbrechts, Cornelius

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Title:Vanitas Still Life

Flemish "Vanitas" is a type of symbolic still life painting based upon biblical themes. The term, Vanitas, refers to arts, learning, and time, with the skull emphasizing the certainty of death. In today's reading from Ecclesiastes, the writer laments, "sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil."

Paired with the reading from Ecclesiastes is the Lukan parable of the rich man who put his faith in storing up riches. The rich man's philosophy of eat, drink and be merry brings this response: " But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'"

Artist:Gijsbrechts, Cornelius
Building:Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Scripture:Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
Lectionary links:CProp13
General Subject:Vanitas

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Attribution:Gijsbrechts, Cornelius. Vanitas Still Life, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved May 23, 2024]. Original source:
Record Number:51102 Last Updated: 2021-10-02 18:27:16 Record Created: 2007-04-19 00:00:00
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition