Still Life with Bible, 1885
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
At first glance, this canvas – with its books and extinguished candle – seems to recall 17th-century still lifes. At that time, such objects were considered symbols of mortality and the transcience of knowledge, wealth and other earthly things, which were usually seen in contrast to the eternal nature of the Christian faith. In this work, Van Gogh both elaborates on this tradition and gives it his own, highly personal interpretation.