This remarkable painting by Bernardino Montañés from 1891 is an allegory for life and death in which the artist plays with appearance and reality, and experiments with visual effects. This piece is influenced by the Baroque vanitas movement or genre, which emphasizes the emptiness of life and the importance of death as the end of all earthly pleasures. As the Bible says, in Ecclesiastes 1:2, "vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas" (vanity of vanities, all is vanity). Montañés was a teacher at the Zaragoza School of Fine Arts (Escuela de Bellas Artes de Zaragoza), a member of Zaragoza's Provincial Commission for Historical and Artistic Monuments (Comisión de Monumentos Históricos y Artísticos), and curator of the city's museum (Museo de Zaragoza) from 1869 through 1888. He was a good friend of Valentín Carderera and, like him, he was an erudite scholar and romantic artist, shaped by his interest in antiquity and archeological heritage. This painting was a gift from Montañés to Pilar Carderera y Almudévar, Valentín Carderera's niece.