The National Museum of Western Art

update 14 September 2021

Currently not on display

Edwaert Collier [c. 1643 - 1710]

Vanitas - Still Life with Books and Manuscripts and a Skull

Materials/Techniquesoil on panel
Size (cm)56.5 x 70
InscriptionsMonogrammed and dated at lower left: EC 1663
Credit LinePurchased
Collection NumberP.1998-0003
Vanitas - Still Life with Books and Manuscripts and a Skull

Collier was a Dutch painter who specialized in the "Vanitas" type of still life composed of such motifs as a skeleton, globe, or musical instruments which were portrayed as a warning against the vanity of this world. He did a large number of still lifes including books, which were symbols of scholarship and worldly matters. At first sight, objects may appear to be standing at random, but it soon becomes evident that the composition was carefully defined along the two diagonals. Inscribed on the piece of paper is a passage quoted from Chapter 26 of "The Book of Psalms". (Source: The Digital Gallery. 1999-2006)


Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hague; purchased by the NMWA, 1999.

Exhibition History

The Hoogsteder Exhibition of: Music & Painting in the Golden Age, Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hague, 11 May 1994 - 10 July 1994, no. 13


Annual Bulletin of the National Museum of Western Art. No. 33 (April 1998-March 1999), 2000, Kofuku, Akira. New Acquisitions. pp. 15-16, List of New Acquisitions. p. 44, col. repr.
Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 49, col. repr.
Kofuku, Akira. Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Paintings, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. [Tokyo], The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo; The Western Art Foundation, 2018, pp. 126-129, no. 36, col. repr.

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