CLAESZ., Pieter
(b. ca. 1597, Steinfurt, d. 1661, Haarlem)

Tobacco Pipes and a Brazier

Oil on wood, 49 c 64 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

A jug and glass of wine, a snuffbox, pipes, spills, and coals smoldering in a small brazier - these attributes of the vices of smoking and drunkenness constitute a variant of the 'vanitas,' a still-life reminding the viewer of the transience of earthly life. Claesz. supplements the traditional subgenre with an element that increases the eloquence of the didactic message: the banality of the objects that accompany us on the short journey from birth to death.