Vanitas Still Life with a Statuette of an Antique Athlete and a Print of Michelangelo

Image credit: National Trust Images

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This elaborate still life is a 'vanitas' painting, a reminder of the fragility of life and worldly concerns, and of the inevitability of death. Among the objects on the table are musical instruments, a celestial globe, a watch and a sword. A statuette stands near the back and a print with a portrait of Michelangelo hangs down from the table. The book, open on a page describing the Dutch town of Haarlem, is propped up on a skull, which, together with the hourglass in the background, is a reminder of mortality.

This painting is at home among the Dutch and Flemish paintings at Dyrham Park, but does not form part of the property’s historic collection. It was bequeathed to the National Trust by the art historian and antiquarian Dame Joan Evans (1893–1977).

National Trust, Dyrham Park

near Bath


Vanitas Still Life with a Statuette of an Antique Athlete and a Print of Michelangelo




oil on panel


H 89.5 x W 64 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed to the National Trust by Dame Joan Evans, 1977

Work type



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Normally on display at

National Trust, Dyrham Park

Dyrham, near Bath, Gloucestershire SN14 8ER England

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