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  • Skull in a Niche

    Artist:
    Bruyn, Bartholomaus I. 1493-1555
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    37x30 cm

Bruyn, Bartholomaus I. 1493-1555

Skull in a Niche

Germany, First half of the 16th century

In all probability this painting once formed the back of a portrait or a wing of a diptych on the other wing of which was a portrait of the client himself. Such portraits, in which images reminding the viewer to think of death (memento mori) were placed on the reverse, were common in the work of Bruyn. He took the idea from Netherlandish art, where they were found in the 15th century. Indeed, the idea of the vanity of vanities runs like a thread through northern humanist culture. The skull is depicted with anatomical precision and placed in a cold stone niche. On the sheet of paper we read: "With no shield to save you from death, live until you die."

Title:

Skull in a Niche

Place:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

37x30 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1917; handed over from the collection of Princess E.M. Oldenburgskaya

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-5197

Category:

Collection:

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