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Vanitas

Little is known about Juan Francisco Carrión, although based on the few other paintings signed by or attributed to him, he appears to have specialized in the vanitas genre. This genre of still life featured objects that symbolized the transience of life. In this composition, the hourglass in the upper right symbolizes the passage of time, while the skull represents the inevitability of death. This still life is also notable for its emphasis on books, many of which can be identified as the work of Spanish author Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1645), who penned several meditations on death and morality.

Juan Francisco Carrión
Spanish, 1626–1680
Vanitas
1672
Oil on canvas
40 3/8 x 34 1/8 in. (102.6 x 86.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Henry D. and Sidney Hill, 59.46