A Dead Soldier

To the left are a skull and bones, symbols of death. The wick of the lamp hanging from the branch has just been extinguished. This work is intended as a 'vanitas', in which the objects serve as a reminder of the brevity of life and the futility of human achievement.

The school and date of the painting are much debated, but it may be a Neapolitan work of the 1630s.

Key facts

Full title
A Dead Soldier
Date made
17th century
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
104.8 x 167 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1865
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Further information

In depth