WIERTZ, Antoine
(b. 1806, Dinant, d. 1865, Bruxelles)

Two Young Girls or the Beautiful Rosine

1847
Oil on canvas, 140 x 100 cm
Musée Wiertz, Brussels

The Belgian artist Antoine Wiertz ironically titled this painting Two Young Girls or the Beautiful Rosine. Before an easel on which her own portrait has presumably been, or will soon be resting, a naked beauty with flowers and pearls in her hair confronts her future and alter ego, a suspended skeleton. More than just a reworking of the traditional vanitas theme of the brevity of life, the picture presents the erotic as itself a corrupting force.