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Vanitas painting

Do you own any vanitas? Are you curious to know what they are worth? Our Experts can provide a free appraisal to give you an estimate of the market price, then help you to ensure the best possible price should you decide to sell.

The painting of Vanitas

Vanitas belong to allegorical representations and help to symbolise the passing of time. They are linked to the genre of still life. This genre is very old since it already existed in Ancient times, but it developed greatly  in Northern Europe in the 16th century before spreading throughout the rest of Europe. Vanitas in painting are often linked to literature and use the trompe l’oeil technique. This genre was more or less abandoned in the 18th century before returning at the end of the 19th century with the French painter Cézanne.

The symbolism of the works

In vanitas, almost every object symbolises man and the passing of time. Death is often expressed through a skull, fruit expresses what is ephemeral, soap bubbles, glass balls or broken glass shows the fragility of life. There is also a religious dimension when bread and wine are depicted.

Even if there is an aesthetic aspect, the aim of these works is to make the spectator philosophise about the pleasures of life in the face of the fatal outcome, being death. The success of this type of work is linked to the context of wars and epidemics that affect populations.

Painters specialising in vanities

Some artists became specialists in this type of painting, such as Philippe de Champaigne and Sébastien Bonnecroy. Vanitas can be a secondary theme found in different paintings such as “Saint Jerome Writing” by Caravaggio or “Young Man With a Skull” by Frans Hals.

How do we appraise your vanitas?

Requesting an online appraisal of your painting is simple and entirely free of charge. You just need to complete our appraisal form with a brief description and some photos. This information will be sent directly to one of our vanitas experts who will provide you with a price range and sales advice.

expertise process

A team of experts and auctioneers

If you own a vanitas, use our online form for a free appraisal.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent opinion of the market price. Should you wish to sell your painting, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available for selling at the best price.

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