An Earthly Meal by Candlelight
I hope that the following explanation of this image may be of some interest to those interested in this genre, popular with Renaissance artists, particularly Dutch and Flemish masters. Still life in the vanitas style is full of symbolic imagery centred upon the futility and transcience of existence, although the genre sounds pretty depressing it can result in very interesting images that provide a lot of food for thought. My original ‘Earthly Meal’ still life featured a recently snuffed out candle, symbolic of the end of life, I decided to produce another version with the candle burning- this time not only to symbolise life and the passing of time but also of the Sun. The two round stones to the right, one grey and one with browns etc. are symbolic of the Moon and the Earth in an approaching total eclipse position. The broken egg symbolises birth with the dried flower representing the memory of youth. The skull , symbolic of death, is a fairly traditional element in vanitas still life, often a human one(!) but one of a bird will do just fine! The pewter Tankard measure and bread is a straight forward reference to food and drink necessary for our existence. The pewter porringer (bowl), shell spoon and plate are again items symbolic of the things that are necessary for our journey through life and also our ingenuity in making them- a subtle reference to this is the prehistoric stone scraper tool located bottom left. The oak leaves blowing in from the dark exterior (the unkown that lies beyond) refer to the autumn of our existence.
Anyway, happy days!