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german school
late 18th Century


Vanitas Still Life. Etching. 8.8 x 7.2 cm. Undescribed.

Objects laid out on a table reveal the unmistakable attributes of transience: a skull, a doused and broken candle, an hourglass, a sheet of music and other apparently random items, which are none-theless skilfully arranged. The composition is crowned by a finely spun spider’s web, caught up in which is a scroll bearing the inscription Vanitas. This charming and carefully executed little print probably dates to late 18th century Berlin. A certain stylistic aμnity to the vignettes and illustrations of Johann Wilhelm Meil (1733 Altenburg – 1805 Berlin) is discernible.

A very fine, even impression with margins around the inky platemark. From the collection of Friedrich August II of Saxony (Lugt 971).