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Gerrit van Vucht (active 1658 - 1697):
Still Life with a Skull and Books
A601; oil on panel; 25 x 31 cm.
Bequeathed by Daisy Linda Ward, 1939; WA1940.2.77.
The vanitas was one of the artist's favourite subjects. The thick volume with torn leather cover, which appears again in a fully signed vanitas in the Muzeum Narodowe, Poznan, was a common symbol of the vanity of human endeavour, along with the skull and the extinguished candle where the symbolism is more obvious. The painting was formerly attributed to Pieter Steenwyck, brother of Herman Steenwyck.
Information derived from the Ashmolean Museum's Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings.
Link to the BBC's Your Paintings page of the Public Catalogue Foundation