Allegory of Vanity, by Molenaer (1633)

Allegory of Vanity, by Molenaer (1633)


Allegory of Vanity, by Molenaer (1633)


Molenaer, Jan Miense (c. 1610-1668)




Although it is a clear case of Vanitas, with the skull, the mirror and the soap bubbles, the character of the woman who combs the young woman's hair wears an orientalizing headdress common in portraits of procuresses in Dutch paintings at the time. Also, the young woman is looking at a ring that appears to be a gift from a suitor. The instruments on the wall, especially the lute, a word that in Dutch also meant vagina, as well as the flutes and clarinets with phallic connotations point to a sexual subtext.


Oil on canvas.
Dimensions: 102 × 127 cm

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