Vanitas

• Death and pleasure mingle in the vanitas still life. Flemish painter Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts surrounds the skull, the cornerstone of vanitas, with wheat, an hourglass, a violin, and gilded tableware. Listing the symbolism of objects in still lifes is tedious and only mildly interesting. The wheat means resurrection after death; the hourglass and candle are reminders that life is short; the violin is entertainment. Basically, enjoy your wealth while you can because death is right around the corner. What is most intriguing about this painting is the right corner, where the paint appears to peel away from the canvas. The objects are on a small stage, and the peeling paint resembles pulling back a curtain. Vanitas still lifes are a theatrical display of wealth, but they reveal the fleeting quality of pleasure and possession with reminders of death.

• Jules hand crafted these Tiny Skulls from bronze and suspended them from an antiqued brass chain.

• Shanna’s Bass Ass Skull Ring is custom made in sterling silver.

• Blue’s Pendant is a bronze cast of a skull surrounded by animal bones.

• Michael’s Werewolf Skull belongs in a gothic house or cabinet of curiosities.

• James’ Skull Necklace is intricately carved in white bronze.