Vanitas Still Life Analysis

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In the Dutch Republic, Amsterdam became one of the most populous cities in Europe. Between the foundation of the Dutch East India Company in 1602 and The Bank of Amsterdam in 1609, Amsterdam soon became the financial capital of Europe. Through their experience in naval travel, the Dutch were able to establish trade routes with North and South America, Africa, and Asia. This led to a great amount of wealth and prosperity in Holland. However, because there was no clear ruler during this time, this wealth was largely distributed among merchants, manufacturers, and other people previously seen as second class citizens. This expansion of prosperity meant that middle class citizens could also partake in the collection of art. The increase in demand meant that for most artists, they could not afford to spend years working on a single piece of art. All of these circumstances led to the formation of the art market in the Dutch Republic. The art market in the Dutch Republic…show more content…
Claesz depicted the various material possessions of some household thrown on a table. Each item in the painting is tremendously realistic and carefully placed within the frame. A beautiful wooden violin takes up the majority of the painting. An intricate pocket watch lays open on the edge of the table, and a glass ball sits on the left side, showing a reflected image of Claesz himself, painting the still life. Among these goods, Claesz includes several references to death. In the rear right side of the painting is a human skull. Next to it is a glass that’s been tipped over, and right next to that is a cracked open walnut. These all allude to the idea that nothing and no one can last forever, and serves to remind the viewer of life’s inherent transience. The Vanitas Still Life was just one example of the many various artworks that were offered up in the Dutch art
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