Key words: Memento Mori, beauty, luxury, death, salvation
T) Vanitas Still Life, 1630 by Pieter Claes. At The Frick Collection, on special loan from The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague.
B) Intrinsecus, 2010 by Jennifer Trask. Completed for "Dead or Alive" exhibition at Museum of Art & Design, NYC.
Both artists work in the Vanitas tradition, a 17th century Dutch genre containing symbols of death and change as a reminder of their inevitability. Also known as Memento Mori (from the Latin "Remember you will die") they seduce with the beauty of their creations. Claes renders his still life of a human skull, drinking glass and timepiece with exquisite detail. While Trask uses materials - a 19th century Italian wood frame, bones, teeth, antlers - as both subject and object. She even includes a tulip made of scapulas, perhaps as a reference to the popular Dutch flower.