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Vanitas Still Life

A snuffed-out candle, an empty glass, a watch and a skull. This is no random collection of objects. Each one conveys a message of mortality. Memento mori – remember you must die. The Haarlem artist Pieter Claesz became well-known for his still-lifes featuring a limited palette. In this painting, for example, besides using brown and green, he only used a dash of blue for the ribbon of the wa…