Harmen Stenwyck Vanities Of Human Life Analysis

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When researching Vanitas, I found that I really liked the paintings and pictures using flowers and animals alongside skulls. It represents life and beauty along with death. I found an artist called Harmen Steenwyck, who used mainly fruit and sometimes flowers in their work and I really like it. Steenwyck also uses skulls, old books, shells, with occasional animals and fish.
Harmen Steenwyck, was a Dutch painter of still life, notably fruit. He was born in Delft, in 1612, in the Netherlands. His birth year is unknown but it is rough estimate based on his appearance of his first painting in 1633. His brother is Pieter Steenwyck, who is also a still life painter, both men were sent by their father to their uncle David Bailly in Leiden, to learn how to paint. Harmen became active as a painter in Leiden between 1628 and 1633. He then moved back to Delft from 1633 to 1656. Here he carried on painting. In 1654-1655 he made a trip to the Dutch East Indies. He died in Leiden in 1956. He is best known for his painting ‘An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life’.
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It was made around 1640 with oil on oak. The original size is 39.2×50.7 cm. It is currently found in the National Gallery in Room 25. There are many meanings of this piece of artwork. Firstly the skull symbolises death while the pocket watch means passing time and also time running out. As well the shell represents beauty and luxury in addition to the jugs also representing luxury and wealth. The books and musical instruments illustrate education and intelligence. The musical instruments also show luxury. This artwork address’ social and economic issues because it shows the social divide with wealth but also the skull representing death and possibly lower

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