Category Archives: RR3-Vanitas

RR3: Vanitas – Wilbert Perez

The relationships between the metaphors for mortality in the Dutch life paintings are clear, and are applicable to visible key aspects such as the moth on the apple and the insect laying dead near what looks like a ripe and delicious bunch of fruits. The colors used to depict the fruits in Ruysch’s painting strengthen them against the dark backgrounds, also viable in Huysum’s painting when compared. The levels of lightness used within the paintings are present to deliver the metaphor in a manner that could be more easily understood then a rather typical message.

Using the past style of Dutch still life paintings as well as applying the influence of the Vanitas art into his photo campaign, Hector Canales presents his idea of a metaphor for mortality using portraits along side military objects and veterans. I believe his methods could have been executed better. I feel like there are other objects that can better represent what could have possibly affected mortality especially if you are relating it the modern Iraq war. Several objects include the smartphone and it’s prominent stand regarding personal freedoms and what it could mean in a nuclear-armed world, the relationship between health hazards from war and health issues here at home, aswell as some struggles some veterans face after serving their country akin to some struggles Americans have been facing after being laid-off from work.

RR3 Vanitas ( Antonio Griffith )

The style of Dutch 17th and 18th Century still life painting is always using nature life subjects in their composition along side with complementary colors. This painting style creates morality by giving symbolizes of life and death. For example one of the painting has fruits such as grapes, and berries(forgot the other fruits name). The fruit can symbolize life because it grows and has life and also could represent death because it dies out if it do not get nourish. The lizard is a symbolize of life and death in the painting because he could kill and also it can die. I basically think this painting style uses living organisms. Anything that has life grows and then later dies out.


These Dutch paintings from 17th and 18th century still life uses dark construct with the background being dark(black) and in the photographs they use dark background with good contact against the foreground objects. The photographs also has nature(fruits) just like what the paintings have. I think the vanitas metaphor is effective in the photos because when people see fruits they will think of it as good and sweet. When they see the other objects such as the good they will associate it with death and dangerous.

Vanitas – (AnaMaria)

Rachel Ruysch used a simile to represent life and death in her painting called fruits and insects, putting juicy fruits and its maximum splendor normally invites to consume . Fruits and eggs represent life and birth in contrast to the danger of death when is close. For example the butterfly trying to stands on the table at the same time it senses the death that in this case is represented by a salamander, that is attentive to devour the butterfly.It should emphasize her great capacity of observation for details in her painting.

The Jan Van Huysum still life painting vase with flowers use flowers with a lot of detail. He also uses eggs in a nest and a little boy naked running in the background to represent birth . Using contrary colors he brings harmony to his still life painting.

Hector Rene’s pictures are inspired by Vanitas. He belonged to the United States Armed Forces and had the opportunity to see the two realities at once life and death. Some of the photos have a Christian connotation as when the soldier holds the child with one hand and in the other holds flowers that seems carnations, this photo is very similar to a Christian painting with child Jesus. In another picture Rene makes a simile of death of jesus .but in this case the one who is holding the death person is a soldier.

Class Work RR3

According what we have watch in class today, We can see that  powerful images can bring in so much more powerful messages to the readers. We have watched the still life painting in Dutch 17th and 18th century. From my opinion, I like the Jan van Huysum painting, Vase with Flowers the most. Compare to the Rachel Ruysch painting Fruit and Insects, Jan van focus more on the details, and it has more contracts in the painting. The details of Jan van’s paint is the amazing emphasis. She paints out the details on the flower, the water drop, the insects and even the boy on the back.

The last thing we watch in the class is the shooting from Hector Rene Membreno-Canales. I think the way he use the the style of Dutch is pretty effective. Also I am agree with what people say in the class about his photographs. His shooting represents mortality, and also it is saying when we enjoying the world this second, there is always somethings bad happens in the other side of the world, or maybe the one who next to you. This set of photographs represents death and mortality. The interesting point is he is using wines, foods and fruits to connect with soldiers and their guns. Therefore, I think these photographs are effective and it is an interesting way to get this kind of message.

Vanitas: van Huysum, Ruysch, and Membreno-Canales

Describe in your own words the style of Dutch 17th and 18th Century still life painting. How does this painting style create a metaphor for mortality? Be specific and use as evidence things you can observe in the Rachel Ruysch painting Fruit and Insects, 1711 or the Jan van Huysum painting, Vase with Flowers, c. 1718-20.

Why and how does Hector Rene Membreno-Canales use the style of Dutch still life painting and the idea of Vanitas in his series Hegemony or Survival? Do you think the use of this style and the implied Vanitas metaphor for mortality is effective or heavy-handed? Please state clear reasons for your answer.

The Vanitas style of still life painting refers to the symbolic juxtaposition of life and death. At first glance, the paintings are simple representations of flowers and fruit. But as one examines them further, there is more than a whiff of the morbid about them. In Ruysch’s work, there is a fly on the fruit, as well as a moth (or butterfly?) and a salamander in the foreground, perhaps ready to attack the beautiful butterfly. This is meant to remind the viewer that even in life, death is always present. Life is transient.

Similarly, van Huysum depicts the life cycle. In the bottom right, there’s a nest with eggs. On the vase itself is a painting of a young boy. The flowers are in various stages of bloom: some are young and tightly closed, others are past their prime and are ready to fall apart. The eye travels all over the image and the cycle repeats again.

The photographer Membreno-Canales is clearly inspired by this style of painting. Like Ruysch and van Huysum, he uses a limited color palette and depicts lush flowers and fruit.However, instead of the subtle details found in the Vanitas paintings, his are blatant: a gas mask here, a machine gun there. While the images are certainly heavy-handed, I still think that they are successful. The images themselves are striking. By placing an emphasis on these tools of war, he’s shifting the focus from an abstract concept of life and death to an overtly political statement.


Peter Conquet Still Life

The style of Dutch 17th and 18th Century still life painting is very symbolic with many hidden items for the patient observers. The paintings show life and decay in many forms. In the first painting they have insects on the fruit. This symbolizes that everything eventually decays because we know the insects will start to eat the fruit. The second painting has flowers that are alive and some that have started to wilt and decay. Both paintings also have a birds nest with eggs that are suppose to represent the start of life. Rene Membreno-Canales uses the dutch painting style because it creates great contrast between subjects and is very dramatic without being to dramatic that it seems over exaggerated. I feel this style really helps get the feeling of war and death across in his series Hegemony or Survival. He mixes beautiful food and fruits with gas masks and guns. The still life creates a rift between the two objects but at the same time the stillness and dramatic scene creates a harmony of different emotions. The fruit and food represent what we get and what people think is reality. The guns and gas masks represent what the reality really is and what allows us to have those foods and fruit that we love so much.