Still Life, Still Death

Posted by Kayla Malouin on

Even if you don’t live in an area with changing leaves, you are still likely in the spirit for fall colors and activities, pumpkin spice, and Halloween! 

After a customer sent us photos of some of our pieces and other items arranged into still lifes for her students, we started thinking about the fact that some of the items were skulls. In painting, the official term for imagery of this type is “Vanitas still life,” and this theme was most popular in the Netherlands in the 17th century. “Vanitas” is Latin for “vanity,” and here it refers to the insignificance and impermanence of earthly life as opposed to the Christian value of eternal life.

We were so inspired by the themes of Vanitas still lifes, autumn, and Halloween, that we created some photo compositions featuring our pieces! You will find them below, also accompanied by those of the aforementioned customer, Laura Nothern.

 

Photo of a still life including a plaster cast sculpture of a skull and two animal skulls
Our Skull #623 is placed strategically near two animal skulls on a white stuccoed wall in Laura Nothern's studio.
photo of plaster cast sculpture of architectural bracket on a dark table next to fall flowers and a pumpkin
The man on this fantastic Gothic Bracket #21 is showered in daylight and accompanied by fall decorations.
photo of plaster cast sculpture of a satyr head atop a gray headstone in the foreground in a cemetery
The Satyr Mask #25 by Carpeaux is placed atop a 19th-century headstone in a cemetery in fall.
Photo of a still life including a plaster cast sculpture of a skull, a plaster cast sculpture of a Renaissance bracket leaning against a bone, empty picture frames, and other eclectic items on a shelf
Laura Nothern's students are able to draw and paint this lovely display of gold frames, decorative items and boxes, animal skulls and bones, and the Caproni casts of the Skull #623 and the Renaissance Bracket #212.
photo of satyr head atop ornamental gray stone memorial
Carpeaux's Satyr Mask #25 appears agitated while being cradled by an old memorial in a cemetery.
photo of plaster cast sculpture of grotesque faun face on a dark table next to fall flowers, a pumpkin, and a red book
Flowers, a pumpkin, and a red book lay next to Michelangelo's Grotesque Mask #31, who stares at the viewer in mockery.
Photo of plaster cast sculpture of two cats sleeping on a cemetery wall with autumn leaves and gravestones in the background
These two Sleeping Cats #674 by Alice Decker are situated on a stone wall in a cemetery. They recall the manner in which you might find real cats taking a nap on a warm autumn afternoon.
photo of plaster cast sculpture of ornamental seated winged lion on a dark sofa table with antique books and flowers, red curtains behind, and painting on wall
You'll find this piece in our Recent Additions collection. The Winged Lion #733 makes a powerful, yet traditional statement on this sofa table adorned with antique books and flowers the colors of autumn.
Photo of plaster cast of sculpture of Renaissance bracket leaning against a bone with empty picture frames on the wall behind
In Laura Nothern's studio, our Renaissance Bracket #212 is placed upside down beside an animal bone, showing the similarities between a natural and a man-made object.

 

I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.” ~ Dodinsky

Enjoy all that fall has to offer!

Best,
Kayla 

 

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