You beautiful fool

This project takes its cue from traditional vanitas flower paintings. I wanted to move away from the usual storytelling style and try something more subtle and nuanced. My goal was to capture the same emotional depth as my earlier works, but in a quieter, more detailed way. This piece is one of my biggest, at 70 x 100 cm, and also the most complex. Each flower has been carefully handmade, cut, and put together to create the look I was aiming for.

The vanitas still-life genre emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries in the Netherlands, a period of great prosperity and artistic flourishing. The genre was particularly popular among Dutch and Flemish artists and was characterized by its focus on the transience and impermanence of life. Vanitas paintings often featured objects such as skulls, hourglasses, and other symbols of mortality, along with flowers, fruits, and other objects that represented the fleeting nature of existence. The inclusion of flowers in vanitas paintings was particularly significant, as they were used to symbolize the transience of beauty and the inevitability of death.

Flower vanitas paintings typically depicted a variety of flowers, each chosen for its symbolic value. For instance, roses symbolized love, but their thorns also represented the pain and suffering of life. Tulips were associated with wealth and luxury, but they also symbolized the fleeting nature of success and the inevitability of decline. Other flowers, such as lilies and daffodils, represented the fragility and ephemerality of life. By including flowers in their vanitas paintings, artists sought to remind viewers of the transience of life and the inevitability of death. Moreover, the meticulous rendering of each flower in these paintings served as a testament to the skill and expertise of the artist, demonstrating their ability to capture the delicate beauty and fleeting nature of their subject matter.
Released: 2017
Material: Handmade collage