Vanitas Still Life with Pochette violin, skull, book, recorder, and overturned glass A very fine original work depicting a Vanitas still life with Pochette violin, skull, book, recorder, and overturned glass. Oil on canvas, unsigned, attributed to Jan Fris or a nearly contemporary follower, most probably second half of the 17th century, possibly early 18th. 66 x 63 cm, in a later frame measuring 80 x 78 cm.
This painting is a fine and characteristic example of a still life by or in the style of the Amsterdam painter Jan Fris, known for vanitas still life paintings of instruments, books and skulls, painted in subtle, close tonalities. Here a skull, an overturned glass roemer with its fleeting reflections, an expired lamp, and the attributes of a writer and musician, suggest that worldly efforts are ultimately in vain.
Very little is known about the life of Jan, or Johannes, Fris. The son of Gerrit, he was born in Amsterdam in c. 1627. The approximate year of his birth has been deduced from two documented declarations of his age. He was married in Amsterdam in 1649 and acquired citizenship there two years later. He was buried in the same city on 9 July 1672. His work provides the best testament of his existence: he left a small oeuvre consisting almost exclusively of still lifes, many (though not all) of which are signed and dated, with dates ranging from 1647 to 1672.
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