Vanitas

1981
Claudio Bravo (Chilean, 1936–2011)


Dimensions

Framed: 204.5 x 246.4 x 5.1 cm (80 1/2 x 97 x 2 in.) Image: 200 x 240.3 cm (78 3/4 x 94 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

2003.29

Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

Not On View

Collections

Americas, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Paintings

This painting refers to seventeenth-century European paintings, such as those by Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts, Flemish, active in 1659-1675 (see 58.357 for an image) and includes traditional symbols of the transience of human life-a skull, a recently extinguished candle, a clock, fragile blown bubbles. The models-wearing their native attire-were the caretaker and his son at the artist’s home in Tangier, Morocco, where Bravo moved in 1972, exhausted by the pace of life in Madrid and the demands for his services as a portraitist. This comparison of vibrant youth and tired old age also references the process of growing old. About this painting, Bravo has said: “In many of my still lifes, especially in the large Vanitas and others, every element is a symbol of something in life. Symbolism is one of the painter’s languages. …The objects I paint often transcend and magnify reality a bit.” Bravo ties together still life painting’s illustrious past with the objects, details and observations of his own life in the present.

Provenance

The artist; with Marlborough Gallery, New York; 1985, to Henry Vasquez, Stamford, Connecticut; By 1991, consigned to Marlborough Gallery, New York; 1991, purchased by Melvin N. Blake and Frank M. Purnell, New York; gift of the estate of Melvin Blake to MFA, Boston, January 22, 2003

Credit Line

Melvin Blake and Frank Purnell Collection

Copyright

© Claudio Bravo, courtesy, Marlborough Gallery, New York