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Vanitas / Still Life with Skull, Open Book with Glasses, and Hourglass / The Sands of Time

1850 - 1852

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

This daguerreotype stereograph image by Thomas Richard Williams is a still life memento mori composition. An assemblage of a human skull, an hourglass with the sand running out, an extended compass, and a book abandoned mid-read with eyeglasses placed upside down on the page, the image evokes the temporary nature of mortal life and the inevitability of death. The objects also refer to intellectual pursuits and to the inevitable triumph of the soul over the mind.

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