Vanitas Still Life

Edward Collier, Still Life with a Volume of Wither’s ‘Emblemes,’ 1696 CE, Oil paint on canvas, The Tate, London.

Edward Collier came to London from the Netherlands to make his living creating still-life paintings, particularly the “Vanitas” genre that was so popular in seventeenth century England. These pieces usually include objects that  represent the fleeting pleasures of life, while a skull or hour-glass symbolize the inevitability of death. Here Collier included an open book of poetry by Withers as well as a sheet of paper with the Latin inscription from the book of Ecclesiastes: ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’


A category or type, often of literary work.

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