During the seventeenth century a form of still life called the vanitas developed as a means to impart an allegorical message about the inevitability of death. The subject here refers to Charles I’s troubled life and is a testament to the suddenness of death and the vanity of early power and glory. For example, the bubbles pertain to the brevity of Charles I’s life (he was beheaded at the age of 44), the broken skull conveys the fragility of human beings, and the globe symbolizes the power and possessions that death steals away.
Open Content Program
The Birmingham Museum of art makes available digital images of works in the Museum’s collection believed to be in the public domain. Images are available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial. Users do not need to contact the Museum for authorization to use these images. They are available through the Online Collection at artsbma.org/collection. See detailed instructions for specific work types below.
Identifying Open Content Images
The mission of the Birmingham Museum of Art is to spark the creativity, imagination, and liveliness of Birmingham by connecting all its citizens to the experience, meaning, and joy of art. The Museum understands that by sharing images of works online without restrictions, the BMA collection becomes more accessible to a larger audience.
For objects with images the rights status is displayed in the “credit line” section of the object information. The rights status or rights holder will be indicated. If the work is in the public domain and/or the image may be downloaded, the download icon will appear in the bottom right corner of the image area. To search the collection click here.
Works With Restrictions
For copyright-protected images that have been approved by copyright holders, a presentation-sized image is available, but can not be downloaded. A copyright statement clearly listing the name of the copyright holder is visible in the credit line area when the image is displayed. Thumbnail-sized images of copyrighted works are displayed under fair use.
When the owner of a work is impossible to determine or contact, the work is deemed an orphan work. The Museum will make thumbnails of orphan works available. If you are the representative or rights holder of an orphan work, please contact Rights and Reproductions.
Please use the following source credit when reproducing an Open Content image: Courtesy Birmingham Museum of Art, followed by the credit line provided in the object description.
Although there are no restrictions or conditions of the use of an Open Content image, the BMA would appreciate a gratis copy of any scholarly publication(s) in which the images are reproduced in order to maintain collection bibliography. Copies may be sent to the attention of:
Open Content Program
Digital Media Department
The Birmingham Museum of Art
2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd
Birmingham, AL 35203
- If an image is not available under Open Content it may be because the work is still under copyright, the work is not owned by the museum, or the work has not yet been photographed to BMA standards.
- Request Images: If an image of a work is not available online or is under copyright, you may submit a request through our online request form. You may also request files in additional sizes or formats. A fee will be charged for this service.
- Our determination of public domain is made in good faith.
- Electronic records are based on historical information and may not be the Museum’s complete or current knowledge about an object. Research is ongoing.
- The ‘On View’ status may be delayed on the website by 24 hours. Please check with our Rights and Registration Office to confirm that a work of art will be on view before traveling to the Museum.
- Titles Vanitas Still Life (Descriptive)@Allegory of Charles I of England and Henrietta of France in a Vanitas Still Life (Proper)@Allegory of Charles I of England and Henrietta of France in a Vanitas (Alternate)
- Artist Formerly attributed to, Carstian Luyckx (also Christian, Christiaan; and Luycks), Flemish, 17 August 1623 - after [email protected] attributed to, Simon Renard de Saint-André, French, 1613 - 1677
- Medium oil on canvas
- Dimensions 57 1/2 x 47 1/4 in. (146.1 x 120 cm) frame: 77 × 57 3/4 × 6 1/2 in. (195.6 × 146.7 × 16.5 cm)
- Credit Line Museum purchase with funds provided by Martee Woodward Webb; Mr. and Mrs. Edmund England; Dr. and Mrs. Rex Harris; Mrs. William McDonald, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. Stewart M. Dansby; and Ms. Pauline Tutwiler, 1988.28
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Provenance Robert Boulin (1920-1979), France [see note 1]; inherited by Boulin family; purchased by dealer Gibert Molle, Gallerie Gibert Molle, Lyon, France [see note 2]; purchased by dealer Patrick Weiller, Paris by 1985 [see note 3]; sold at Sotheby's Monaco, Nov. 29-30, 1986, lot 344 [see note 4]; purchased by Judith Mazor Taubman (Mrs. Alfred Taubman) (b. 1943) [see note 5]; Sotheby's New York, Jan 14, 1988, lot 188 as Renard de St. André; purchased by the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, 1988
1. Robert Boulin was the former French Minister of Health, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1979. According to a memo from Douglas Hyland to Leslie dated May 15, 1989: Pierre Rosenberg conveyed that 1988.28 was in the collection of Robert Boulin (1920-1979) and that it may have been sold after his death. Patrick Weiller confirmed this in an email to Virginia Badgett on December 11, 2019 and identified the Lyon dealer from whom he purchased 1988.28. See object file.
2. According to memo from Douglas Hyland dated January 28, 1988. Based on info communicated by Patrick Weiller. This dealer had purchased the painting and cleaned it. See object file.
3. According to a memo from Douglas Hyland dated January 28, 1988 the painting was offered to the museum by Weiller in 1985. See object file.
4. According to memo from Douglas Hyland, January 28, 1988 (sold in Monaco). Sold as by Renard de St. André. See object file.
5. According to memo from Douglas Hyland, dated January 28, 1988, the painting was damaged during shipment to New York City and Mrs. Taubman received compensation, and the painting was turned over to the insurance company, which subsequently put it up for auction. According to the memo, Patrick Weiller stated that the damage to the painting was minor. See object file.